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‘Sleep-driving’ remains a difficult defense

Another attempt at the “Ambien zombie” defense has come to naught at the Virginia Court of Appeals.

As we noted last month, some sleep-inducing drugs such as Ambien apparently can cause users to take to the streets while still in a sleep-like state. That may have been what happened to Joshua Shortt, but the courts ruled he failed to prove he was “sleep-driving,” despite expert testimony and no evidence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

In an unpublished decision Tuesday, the Court of Appeals affirms Shortt’s conviction for driving under the influence of drugs.

By Peter Vieth

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