A Novel DUI Defense

     BOULDER, Colo. (CN) – Because a man drove while asleep on Ambien and under the influence of alcohol, he claims, it was involuntary, so his license should be reinstated.
     William Bassett’s driver’s license was revoked on April 30, after he challenged its revocation. In his May 7 lawsuit against Colorado and his Department of Revenue hearing officer, Bassett claims that he tested positive for both alcohol and Ambien when he was arrested at 11:48 p.m. on Jan. 26.
     At the hearing, Mr. Bassett presented uncontroverted evidence that he was in a somnambulistic state when he was arrested and charged with DUI resulting in this action against his driver’s license,” he says in the complaint in Boulder County Court. “That evidence included a sworn affidavit from an expert explaining that somnambulism is a common side effect of the prescription medication Ambien (also known as Zolpidem) which was present in its proper therapeutic dose in Mr. Bassett’s blood at the time of his arrest. The preponderance of evidence was that Mr. Bassett did not commit a voluntarily [sic] act of drinking and driving on the night in question.”
     Bassett claims that the defendant hearing officer, Jay Bachlet, erroneously ruled that Colorado’s DUI law “does not require a voluntary act.”
     Bassett claims that statutory and case law requires that it does. He wants his license reinstated. He is represented by Abraham Hutt, of Denver.

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