CORE CRIMINAL LAW SUBJECTS: Crimes: Article 111 - Drunken or Reckless Operation of Vehicle, Aircraft, or Vessel


United States v. Scheurer, 62 M.J. 100 (Article 111, UCMJ, has been expanded by Congress to prohibit physically controlling, as well as operating, a vehicle while impaired by a controlled substance; the very purpose of the legislation is to remove impaired people from the driverís seat; so unless the government proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was in the driverís seat, rather than the passenger seat, while impaired, the government has not established an Article 111, UCMJ, offense). 

(in this case, considering the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, a reasonable factfinder could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant was in the driverís seat of the car while he was impaired; a witness statement indicating that the witness was in the back seat and the accused and his wife were in the front seat and that was normal was legally insufficient to establish that the accused was in the driverís seat).

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