Virginia Man Convicted of Drunk Driving Petitions U.S. Supreme Court

Posted on Sep 30, 2012

In 2009, Jean Paul Enriquez was arrested for drunk driving. He was later convicted in Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Enriquez appealed his conviction, and, in March 2012, the Virginia Supreme Court held that a person who is drunk and behind the wheel of the car with the key in the ignition can be convicted of drunk driving—even if the car was in park on a public road and the key had not turned the car on.

The Virginia Supreme Court denied Mr. Enriquez a new hearing in April 2012. Now, after exhausting his state court options, Mr. Enriquez is reportedly appealing the decision of the Virginia Supreme Court decision to the United States Supreme Court. His attorney is allegedly arguing that the rule established by the Virginia Supreme Court in this case was not the rule of law in 2009 and that, accordingly, Mr. Enriquez should not be held accountable pursuant to the new standard set by the Virginia Supreme Court in March 2012. Specifically, Mr. Enriquez’s attorney argues that, prior to this March 2012 ruling, the law was that the key had to be turned on in some way and not simply in the ignition. He further argues that holding him to this new standard of simply having the key in the ignition is to take away Mr. Enriquez’s due process rights.

It is not yet known whether the United States Supreme Court will agree to hear Mr. Enriquez’s case. Our Virginia drunk driving defense lawyers will continue to watch this case in the coming months.

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