SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – The state Supreme Court has overturned the drunken driving conviction of a motorist found passed out in his vehicle with the keys on the passenger seat.
The court on Tuesday said prosecutors had failed to prove that Mark Sims was in “actual physical control” of the vehicle when he was arrested by Albuquerque police in 2004. His vehicle was in a commercial parking lot.
The court used the case to outline a new standard of evidence that police and prosecutors need to show that a motorist intended to drive while intoxicated and posed a danger to themselves or the public.
The justices said courts can’t speculate that a passed out motorist might awake and then drive.