CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – A serial drunk driver who’s been getting break after break might get his biggest break of all. The appeals court just overturned the conviction that sent him to prison for 12 years but the case may not be over. Prosecutors are vowing to fight it. On December 31, 2017, Randall Pruitt was arrested for DWI and leaving the scene of an accident after ramming his car into his neighbor’s car and then driving to his house.
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“They brought him out and had him perform field sobriety tests. He performed poorly on those tests. Officers were then able to get a blood draw on him and the blood draw revealed that had certain controlled substances in his system which had led to his impairment and the accident,” said Brian Stover, the chief deputy District Attorney of the Ninth Judicial District.
This week, the New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled that they did not have the warrant to pull Pruitt out of his house and that justified an illegal search and seizure. The results of his conviction should be overturned.
“The defense filed a motion to suppress the evidence saying that that was an illegal search. So they are looking to reverse an eighth DUI conviction because the office reached across the threshold to pull him out of his home,” Stover said.
The court of appeals also wrote the jury for the trial was also not told of the proper laws concerning leaving the scene of an accident. Right now, Pruitt is still in a prison serving his time but that might change because of this ruling. New Mexico’s laws on DWI convictions are what has the district attorney’s office frustrated by the appeal. They say the officer could have done better but it does not excuse the recklessness of another DWI charge.
“Why was he out and able to drive so that he could pick up an eighth offense which, according to records, could have been his tenth offense,” Stover said.
The court of appeals has sent its ruling to the New Mexico Supreme Court asking for its opinion. If they agree with the appeals court, then Pruitt will be released from prison.