Albuquerque, NM -- A prominent attorney who specializes in defending intoxicated drivers allegedly showed up in court drunk.
DWI attorney John Higgins, 69, who was in the wrong courtroom at the time and therefore missed two scheduled hearings for clients taking place elsewhere in the courthouse, was held in contempt of court.
After he was in her courtroom for about 45 minutes in apparently a wobbly and disruptive condition, Municipal Court Judge July Altwies ordered a probation officer to administer a blood test. The lawyer allegedly measured.11. In New Mexico as well as most other states, the BAC legal limit is.08. He was then taken into custody
Of the incident that occurred last Wednesday, Judge Altwies said on August 1 that "There were two cases that were continued by judges because he was not present. The reason the court found him in direct contempt because he did disrupt the proceedings yesterday quite a lot," KRQE reported.
Higgins is receiving treatment in an Albuquerque hospital. According to his lawyer, "He's had alcohol issues and I don't think he would deny that," but added that Higgins may have a medical problem that caused him to be unsteady on his feet after after his blood content returned to normal several hours later.
Higgins is due back in court in three weeks and has reportedly been ordered to refrain from alcohol and undergo random testing as conditions of his release.
Higgins was convicted of aggravated driving while intoxicated in 2009 and served two days in jail. See dash cam video below of the DWI arrest.
A year later, the DWI attorney was accused of trying to run over his wife while he was behind the wheel of his Mercedes. The case was later dismissed.
Higgins has never been disciplined by the state agency that oversees attorney professional conduct, however.