State v. Taft case brief summary
102 S.E.2d 152 (1958)
Defendant appealed the judgment of the
Circuit Court of Monongalia County (West Virginia), which convicted
him of driving an automobile while under the influence of
intoxicating liquor and of driving an automobile while under the
influence of drugs and narcotics to a degree rendering him incapable
of safely driving the automobile.
CASE FACTS Defendant was found guilty of driving
an automobile while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and of
driving an automobile while under the influence of drugs and
narcotics to a degree rendering him incapable of safely driving the
automobile. He appealed, arguing that the trial court erred when it
instructed the jury that the term "driving" had been
defined and construed as requiring that a vehicle be in motion in
order for the offense to be committed.
Citing § 2 of Article 5,
Chapter 129 of the 1951 Acts of the Legislature, as amended, Michie's
1955 W. Va. Code, 17C-5-2, the court held that the mere motion
of the vehicle did not constitute "driving" of the vehicle.
Therefore, the trial court's instruction, which had the effect of
telling the jury that any accidental movement of the vehicle was
sufficient to constitute a driving of the vehicle, constituted
The court also found that the evidence in the case
did not support a verdict of guilty on the charge relating to the
driving of a vehicle by defendant while under the influence of drugs.
CONCLUSION The court reversed the trial court's
judgment, set aside the verdict, and awarded defendant a new trial.
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