Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Under La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:98, the State must prove the accused has in fact operated a vehicle while intoxicated.
A police officer spotted defendant's truck, with lights on in the afternoon, parked at a highway intersection, with the truck half-on and half-off the road. Defendant was found slumped over at the steering wheel, unconscious and smelling of alcohol. Defendant was convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in violation of La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:98. Defendant appealed, arguing that the State failed to prove that he had been driving the truck when it went off the road or that he was intoxicated before, not after, the truck rolled to a stop.
Under the circumstances, could the defendant be convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in violation of La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:98?
The court affirmed the conviction, ruling that the evidence justified the finding that the State had excluded every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. Given the fact that defendant was found inside the truck at the steering wheel, with the truck half-on the highway and with lights on, the court ruled that this evidence excluded any doubt that some other person had driven the truck to that location and then abandoned it in that manner to defendant. Moreover, the evidence excluded the possibility that defendant, after parking the truck so as to poke out onto the road with its lights on, only then began drinking himself into a stupor.