OWI in a Parked Car (Wisconsin)
Milwaukee Lawyer Get Charges Dropped for DUI in a Parked Car
Have you ever been driving home from a party, a bar, or a restaurant and suddenly realized you probably should not be behind the wheel? You felt fine as you were hugging your friends goodbye, but all of a sudden the lane lines are fuzzy and 45 mph feels like 145.
Many of our clients find themselves in this situation, and they decide to do the responsible thing: stop the car and wait or sleep until they are safe to drive again. In this case, our client was sitting in his car with the engine running to keep warm while he waited for his designated driver.
Yes, he was intoxicated, but he did not intend to drive the vehicle. A police officer saw him get into the car and came over to knock on the window. She gave him a breathalyzer test and a roadside sobriety test, which he failed.
He was not driving but got a DUI anyway!
OWI Defense: What counts as “Operating”?
The term “operating” is defined by statute as manipulating or activating any control of a motor vehicle necessary to put the vehicle in motion. Whether you were “operating” a motor vehicle can become an issue in your OWI case in several ways. For instance, sometimes operating becomes an issue on an OWI case because police arrest an individual without personally witnessing the reported driving. In other cases, police come into contact with an individual in a parked vehicle and the question becomes whether the vehicle’s controls have been manipulated or activated. This includes leaving the car running to keep the heat on, putting the car in accessory mode to listen to music, and leaving the lights on even if the engine is turned off.
If you think that “operating” may be an issue in your OWI case, it is important to hire an experienced OWI attorney with a record of success at litigating OWI defenses. There are important nuances in OWI case law regarding “operating” a motor vehicle that can make or break your case and you need a skilled advocate to navigate them properly.
“Why Did I Get an OWI for Sleeping in My Car?”
Many drunk driving cases we see at Grieve Law involve someone who has responsibly stopped their car but left it running and fell asleep. A concerned citizen then calls police to have them come and check on the driver. Often the driver/sleeper ends up getting arrested for Operating While Intoxicated.
An OWI arrest when you have been asleep in your car is not an automatic conviction. Just as a skilled attorney can find ways to challenge arrests in OWI cases initiated by traffic stops, he or she can also challenge sleeping OWIs. Police reports and squad video footage can provide a wealth of information to rebut an officer’s handling of the investigation, and Grieve Law has had success in getting such cases amended and even dismissed altogether.
Tips To Avoid Being Charged With OWI In A Parked Car
- Turn off the car and take the keys out of the ignition
- Don't park on the side of a busy road. Find a parking lot where parking is permitted.
- Get in the back seat to take a sobering nap.
- If questioned by police, do not admit to any intent to drive in the near future.
Milwaukee’s Top Drunk Driving Lawyers Get OWI Charges Reduced or Dropped
The client contacted Grieve Law as soon as he could. At trial, Tom Grieve was able to get the charges dropped! There are many factors that go into proving someone is guilty of Operating While Intoxicated, and it's important to remember:
You Are Not Guilty Unless You Are Convicted®
If you got a DUI but were not driving, you need the best Milwaukee drunk driving attorney you can get. You need Grieve Law.
Contact Grieve Law for a free OWI case assessment.