Cox v. State

2013 WL 4528675 (2013)

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Cox v. State

Texas Court of Appeals
2013 WL 4528675 (2013)

Facts

One evening, Ronald Lynn Cox (defendant) crashed his van after driving erratically down the highway at a high speed. Eyewitnesses helped Cox out of his van and later described him as dazed but coherent, noting that he was able to answer questions. Police arrived, found alcohol in Cox’s car, and administered a breathalyzer test, which Cox failed. Police officers also smelled alcohol on Cox’s breath, and Cox admitted to drinking one bottle of alcoholic lemonade before driving. Cox was arrested and underwent questioning at the police station. He was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and went to trial. At trial, Cox claimed that he had a history of sleepwalking and sleep disorders and was asleep at the time of the accident and for the next several hours he was at the police station, including while being questioned. His doctor, who had been treating Cox for chronic sleep apnea, also testified that Cox had previously told her he had cooked and eaten food while sleepwalking. Cox’s doctor also testified that although a person could answer questions while sleepwalking, he could only do so in a very simplistic way and might not make sense. The state (plaintiff) showed Cox’s doctor a video of Cox being questioned in the police station after the accident, and she testified that he did not appear to be asleep based on his demeanor and ability to answer sophisticated questions. Cox was convicted of DUI and appealed, arguing that he could not be found guilty because there was no proof that he drank alcohol voluntarily, a necessary element of the crime.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Campbell, J.)

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