Sister Kimberly Miller was convicted of driving under the influence after her lawyers unsuccessfully argued that she had been sleep driving as the result of taking Ambien.
Miller was arrested for driving under the influence, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident after she drove her Chevrolet Impala into an auto repair shop in Gloucester County, New Jersey in November of 2015.
Just last week during Miller’s DUI trial, she testified that she had no recollection of the incident. Her attorneys argued that Miller took Ambien, a sleep sedative, which caused her to sleep drive. Miller testified that she had not taken Ambien in eight months, but took it that night because she had not slept in several nights.
Sister Frances Mary Murray, superior of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary convent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, testified that she had observed Miller sleepwalk in the past.
"She did not have any knowledge that taking Ambien would have this effect," said Jeffrey Lindy, one of Millers lawyers. "She doesn’t remember."
Prosecutors, however, argued that Miller was under the influence of alcohol as well the Ambien. Miller told one officer that she had not consumed any alcohol while she had told another officer that had consumed two glasses of wine. Police said that they found a half-empty bottle of wine in the backseat of Miller’s vehicle.
Evidence of Miller’s blood alcohol content was thrown out by Judge Martin Whitcraft because officers failed to observe Miller for the 20 minutes immediately prior to the breathalyzer test. There was, however, evidence that Miller failed field sobriety tests.
After a six-hour trial, Judge Whitcraft agreed with prosecutors and found Miller under the influence of alcohol dismissing Miller’s sleep driving defense. Miller’s license will be suspended for 90 days, she’ll be fined $257 plus fees, and ordered to complete a 12-hour DUI course.
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