If I went to sleep in my car in a parking lot because I drank too much and did not feel I should drive but was arrested, should I fight it?

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If I went to sleep in my car in a parking lot because I drank too much and did not feel I should drive but was arrested, should I fight it?

I was arrested for DUI but was not driving. The car was parked in a parking lot and didn’t move from the parking lot the entire night. I had too much to drink so I decided to sleep in the car rather than driving home. I was woken up by an officer and arrested after failing a sobriety test in the parking lot. My keys were in the ignition because it was 20 degrees out and my heat was on. This is my first offense of any kind. I understand that the law states if the keys are in the ignition, technically I was operating the vehicle , hoerver, it’s the judges discretion. So I was wondering if I had a chance?

Asked on March 27, 2012 under Criminal Law, Connecticut

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In Michigan and in most states, you must be "operating" the motor vehicle, which means the engine must be on or cranked. Being over the limit and behind the wheel is not illegal so long as you are not "operating" the vehicle. Even if the key is in the ignition, the question of law is whether or not the vehicle was in an operable condition. If not, then you need to speak with an experienced criminal attorney to argue this matter for you in court. State case law will apply, but in matters where the vehicle was not operable, a DUI ticket should always be challenged in court or at trial.

 


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