Assemblyman Carrillo convicted of DUI | RecordCourier.com

Assemblyman Carrillo convicted of DUI

by Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, D-Las Vegas, was convicted of DUI Monday after a half-day trial.

But Carson City Justice of the Peace John Tatro declined the prosecution request to order jail time for the three-term assemblyman and imposed the minimum $800 in fines.

Carrillo also was convicted of being in possession of a firearm while intoxicated, also a misdemeanor. A .22-caliber pistol was found in his pocket when he was arrested.

He will have to perform 48 hours of community service — reduced to 42 hours because he was in the Carson City jail six hours before bailing out following the Feb. 27 arrest.

The sentence also bars him from having a firearm for at least one year.

His lawyer Larry Dunn said after the verdict that he is recommending his client appeal to district court.

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"I don't think the decision was valid," Dunn said.

Carrillo has 10 days to make that decision.

Testimony included that from Michael Lawrence of Capitol Patrol, who first found Carrillo asleep in a planter box on Plaza Street just a half block from Jimmy G's where he had been drinking. Lawrence said he specifically told Carrillo not to go to his car and try to drive.

But just 15 minutes later, Lawrence testified he found Carrillo asleep in the driver's seat of his white Miata sports car in a parking space outside the bar. That prompted him to call sheriff's deputies.

Carson City Sheriff's Deputy Josh Chaney said when he arrived, the car's engine was running and Carrillo, with one hand on the gear-shift, was asleep in the driver's seat.

Dunn told Tatro that Carrillo obviously had no intention of driving the vehicle. He said his client was asleep in a legally parked vehicle with its lights off.

"He tells the officer he's in the vehicle to stay warm. There was no attempt to operate the vehicle."

Dunn said Carrillo even told the deputy he had some one coming to give him a ride.

But Tatro agreed with prosecutor Amy Steelman that Carrillo was in physical control of the vehicle. She argued that a person doesn't have to actually be driving a vehicle to violate the DUI law, that being in "actual physical control" of the car violates the law designed to prevent people in control of a vehicle from driving. She pointed to the fact the engine was running and Carrillo was in the driver's seat with his hand on the gearshift.

"You had the opportunity not to get in the car, not to get into the driver's seat," said Tatro.

He imposed the minimum $500 fine plus a $140 administrative fee, $100 specialty court fee and a $60 chemical testing fee for a total of $800 — the minimum fines for a first-time DUI. But he agreed to stay imposition of the sentence until Carrillo decides whether to appeal.

Dunn challenged evidence in the case as hearsay including the Washoe County crime lab testing that set Carrillo's blood alcohol at 0.10 percent — two-tenths higher than the 0.08 percent where someone is considered legally intoxicated.

Tatro rejected those challenges.