Can I Get a DWI in a Parked Car?

Posted on Apr 28, 2014 in DUI/DWI

If you have been drinking, it may be tempting to take a rest in your parked vehicle to sober up or while you wait for a cab or for a ride. While this might seem like a good idea, the reality is that it is a risky thing to do. As we explain in our video Can I Get a DWI in a Parked Car, it may be possible for law enforcement to arrest you for driving while impaired even if you are just sitting in your vehicle and not actually operating it. 

If you have been accused of driving drunk and you were not operating your vehicle at the time, a New Orleans criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you identify defenses to avoid conviction. Our attorneys can help you to get charges dropped; to negotiate a plea bargain to avoid jail and a criminal record; or to secure a not-guilty verdict.  Contact us for help as soon as you are accused of a drunk driving offense, especially if you weren’t actually driving at the time, so we can get started representing you. 

Drunk Driving Offenses in a Parked Car

To be convicted of a DWI offense, the prosecutor has to both prove that alcohol or drugs caused you to be too impaired to drive and has to show that you were actually operating your vehicle.   If you can introduce doubt about whether you were driving, then you may be found not guilty of the charges.  You may also avoid a criminal conviction if you can prove that you were just in your car, not driving it, had not driven it and were not about to start driving it. 

Unfortunately, these types of cases often come down to your word against the police officers.  Not only that, but an accusation of drunk driving can lead to an arrest, an arraignment and a criminal trial- not things that you want to deal with if you don’t have to.  To avoid the risk of getting arrested in the first place, the best thing to do is not get into your car to take a rest while you are impaired. Instead, consider staying in the bar or restaurant while waiting for a ride, or consider calling a taxicab to get home. 

If you must get into your vehicle, our video on DWIs in parked cars provides some tips for things you can do to reduce the chances of being arrested while sitting in your car.   First and foremost, you should NEVER put the keys into the ignition.  If your car is running, police officers are likely going to arrest you because you are in the car with the vehicle on and could drive at any time. This is true even if the battery is running but the car is not actually on. 

Instead, you should put the keys in your pocket, on the car’s console, in the glove compartment or somewhere else that does not provide any indication you’re about to start driving. This doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never be arrested for DWI, but it does make it much easier to argue that you weren’t operating your vehicle. 

To learn more, watch our video on DWIs and parked cars or contact a New Orleans DWI lawyer at Bloom Legal for help with your case. 

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