The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Is That the Wrong Couch? Man Wakes Up 25 Miles Away

Lee A. Schuster was recently arrested when police woke him from his drunken slumber on the wrong couch of the wrong home in a western New York town, according to the Associated Press. The AP goes on to report that the man thought he was on his friend's couch in a town 25 miles away.

Schuster, 20, was "highly intoxicated" when police roused him, The Buffalo News reports. Schuster was free to go, but was given an appearance ticket for Newstead Town Court, according to the AP. This is surprising considering the factors of Schuster's condition.

He probably would have been treated a little differently here in Philly.

First of all, the guy is 20. Nowhere in the country is the drinking age less than 21. That right there is one count against Schuster. Not only is there that relatively minor charge, but it is certain that if a police officer says you are "highly intoxicated" and people have not been able to wake you up, there is no point in mentioning the zero-tolerance laws regarding DUI. Because at that point you are well over a 0.01 percent blood alcohol content, which is what the zero-tolerance laws are aiming to stop.

It is surprising that Schuster was only charged with criminal trespass. Indeed, the man (barely that) admitted that he thought he was in a different town, not just a different house. This is the type of admission that is allowed in court and goes a long way to proving that you were behind the wheel.

Of course, there are other explanations about how someone travels 20 miles in a relatively short time. He could have caught a ride, ridden a bicycle, or taken a cab. However, all of those explanations mean that he purposefully gave the address of the wrong town, or was directing himself on a different vehicle. The most likely possibility is that he drove there under the influence.

It will be surprising if the town does not press charges for DUI, there must be something for waking up on the wrong couch, 25 miles away from where you wanted to be. That is, unless he just looked so innocent while he was sleeping that it would break their hearts to charge Lee A. Schuster.

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