Assemblyman Richard Carrillo’s misdemeanor DUI conviction was overturned on appeal to the District Court on Tuesday.
But the ruling came only after his lawyer Larry Dunn threw a Hail Mary pass following Judge James Wilson’s initial ruling upholding the DUI but tossing the gun charge.
Wilson reversed the charge of carrying a gun while intoxicated because he said the blood test showing Carrillo was at 0.10 blood alcohol wasn’t admissible. He made that ruling based on testimony by the Washoe crime lab technician she didn’t supervise and control all the elements of the testing process and couldn’t vouch for the pieces she wasn’t involved in.
At that point, Dunn stood and asked how the judge could then uphold the DUI since that conviction was based on the same blood test he had just thrown out.
Wilson looked back in the transcript of Justice of the Peace John Tatro’s decision and agreed with Dunn that Tatro found Carrillo guilty of DUI based solely on the blood test, not on any other tests or evidence Carrillo was intoxicated.
“So it appears the DUI needs to be reversed too,” said Wilson correcting himself.
The Washoe Crime Lab didn’t administer multiple tests to establish whether Carrillo’s alcohol level was on the way up or on the way down and couldn’t say for beyond a reasonable doubt his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit when he was found asleep in his vehicle.
Carrillo was arrested February 27 during the 2015 Legislature after he was found asleep in the driver’s seat of his sports car with the engine running and his hand on the gearshift. Tatro initially ruled he was “in actual physical control” of the vehicle and therefore guilty of DUI. The car was parked on the street outside Jimmy G’s bar where Carrillo had been drinking.
Dunn said the ruling would make the crime lab tighten up its rules and procedures but he believed the arrest was bad in the first place because there was no evidence Carrillo had driven the car while drunk or had made any attempt to do so.
Wilson’s decision lifts the penalties imposed by Tatro including 42 hours of community service, fines totaling $800 and a ban on possessing any firearms for a year.
Carrillo said afterward the ruling “lifts a huge weight” off of him.
Dunn said simply it was “the right decision from the beginning.”