It is not uncommon for people to spend time in their cars for purposes other than driving. While generally, sitting in a parked vehicle is not notable, a person sitting in the driver’s seat of a car while intoxicated is deemed to be in operation of the vehicle and it can lead to DWI charges. What constitutes operation of a vehicle was the topic of a recent New Jersey ruling in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for a first time DWI offense. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is prudent to meet with a capable New Jersey DWI defense attorney.
The Alleged Crime
It is reported that a woman noticed the defendant’s car parked by the entrance to the parking lot for her complex. The defendant was sitting in the driver’s seat and was slumped over. The woman observed that the car was still there approximately twenty minutes later and called the police. She then saw the defendant get out of the car and urinate in the bushes, and then notice the car moved.
Allegedly, police dispatched to the scene conducted field sobriety tests, which the defendant failed. He was transported to the police station and charged with DWI. He was convicted following a trial. He appealed, arguing the state failed to show that he was in operation of his car at the time of the alleged crime. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed his conviction. Continue reading