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State v. Tucker

Supreme Court of Arizona

December 14, 1954

The STATE of Arizona, Plaintiff,
v.
Archie O. TUCKER, Defendant.

Ross F. Jones, Atty. Gen., Earl E. Weeks, Asst. Atty. Gen., Wm. P. Mahoney, Jr., County Atty., Phoenix, for the State.

W. T. Choisser, Phoenix, for defendant.

LA PRADE, Justice.

Purportedly under the authority of Section 44-2401, A.C.A.1939, the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Division 8, Judge Henry Stevens presiding, has certified six questions to this court.

By direct information the state accused Archie O. Tucker of drunk driving and of reckless driving. To support the state's accusation of reckless driving a bill of particulars specified that Tucker drove his automobile in such manner as to weave

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across the middle line of the street and create a hazard to the oncoming traffic, and also that Tucker nearly struck a legally parked automobile. The defendant moved to quash the reckless driving count claiming that it failed to state facts constituting[79 Ariz. 121] an offense. The defendant contended that under the facts as disclosed by the bill of particulars no reckless conduct was charged.

The statute claimed to have been violated is Section 66-157, A.C.A.1939, as amended, which in part reads:

'Reckless driving.-(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.'

The questions certified from the court below read:

'1. In the prosecution of a complaint or direct information relating to the offense of reckless driving does the term 'safety of persons' include the person of the driver-defendant and may there be a conviction even though the driver-defendant and his safety are the only ones being disregarded?'

'2. In the prosecution of a complaint or a direct information relating to the offense of reckless driving, does the term 'safety of * * * property' include the vehicle being driven by the driver-defendant even though there be no other property which is endangered by being so disregarded.'

'3. Must the conduct which is 'wilful or wanton disregard' be measured by the course of travel of the vehicle or by the presence of other persons or property in such manner as to totally exclude any reference to whether or not the driver-defendant was under the influence of intoxicating liquor?'

'4. May the State offer evidence in a reckless driving case that at the time and place in question the driver-defendant was either (a) under the influence of intoxicating liquor within the prohibited limits specified in Sec. 66-156, or (b) that the driver-defendant had been drinking?'

'5. May the conduct which is 'wilful or wanton disregard' be that of ordinary negligence if there is evidence that at the same time and place the defendant-driver was driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor?'

'6. Are the offenses set forth in Sec. 66-156 and Sec. 66-157 so totally distinct, one from the other, that the only matter in common and subject to common evidence in the trial of ...


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