ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico DWI attorney is facing charges after authorities said he walked into an Albuquerque courtroom drunk — and into the wrong scheduled hearing.
John W. Higgins was taken into custody at Metro Court on Wednesday when he allegedly showed up drunk in the courtroom of Chief Judge Julie Altwies, the Albuquerque Journal [auth] reported (http://bit.ly/14G2Vwf).
Higgins, 69, had no appearances before Altwies, but he did have settings before two other judges two floors below, officials said.
Authorities say his blood-alcohol content registered at 0.11. The presumed level of intoxication in New Mexico is 0.08 percent.
Officials say the attorney had been in the courtroom for about 45 minutes and stumbled getting up. Altwies told him she was concerned about his safety, and other defense attorneys in the courtroom assisted him until he was taken away by court security officers.
Higgins was taken into custody for direct contempt of court.
In 2009, Higgins was convicted of aggravated drunken driving. He was sentenced to a mandatory 48 hours in jail.
In 2010, he was accused of aggravated battery after allegedly hitting his wife with his silver Mercedes-Benz. That case was dismissed last month after a 2nd Judicial District judge found no probable cause at a hearing.
A number to Higgins’ law firm has been disconnected. It was unclear if he had an attorney.