Man Arrested For Alleged DUI, Lewdness On I-80
Attorney Matthew Nebeker comments on news item in www.DeseretNews.com about a man who was arrested on Tuesday after police say he drove drunk on I-80, then pulled over in Magna and lay naked in front of oncoming traffic on the side of the freeway.
When I read an article like this the first thing I think is that this man must be having some mental health issues, and I actually feel sorry for the individual. I have represented a lot of drunk drivers, and intoxicated people, and have not seen a lot of people lying naked on the side of the interstate. The chemical tests that the Utah Highway Patrol Trooper administered indicated relatively low blood alcohol content for someone to be exhibiting this type of behavior. It is not uncommon for people with mental health issues to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, because they cannot afford to get the mental health treatment that they really need.
On Interstate 80 (I-80) West there are a lot of situations where drivers are leaving Wendover, Utah after having consumed to much alcohol in the casinos, but his does not seem to be the case here. If I were this driver’s attorney I would see about getting him a mental health evaluation, and drug and alcohol evaluation. From the article it is clear that the driver was outside the vehicle when the Trooper found the individual. There could be a possible argument that the driver was not in actual physical control of the vehicle, under Utah law, while he was under the influence of alcohol. Maybe the car was having mechanical problems and the driver was waiting for a tow-truck and decided to have a few beers. This could explain the reason for the open container in the vehicle. It is unclear from the article, but this Trooper is likely to request blood and urine chemical tests to check for the presence of prescription medications, or street drugs.
It would also be important in the defense of this driver to try and document what he said to the Trooper, and when he said it for purposes of his Miranda Rights. If the officer arrived on the location and arrested the individual, and did not read him his Miranda Rights, letting him know that he has the right to remain silent, then those statements made by driver could be thrown out of court. It would also be important to know if the Trooper had the driver perform the Standard Field Sobriety tests. I think there is an argument that they would be difficult to perform on the side of the interstate, with only a harness wrapped around your waist. There are a lot of issues to resolve in defending this driver for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, combined with the lewdness. This driver needs an attorney that is familiar with the mental health issues as well as legal issues, including the chemical tests.