DWI might stand for “driving while intoxicated,” but police don’t necessarily have to find you driving to charge you with DWI. In fact, DWI charges don’t actually result from driving while intoxicated; rather, they result from breaking New York State Law Section 1192.
Under New York State Law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Since it is possible to operate a vehicle without driving it, it is also possible to face DWI charges for sitting or sleeping in your car under certain circumstances.
If you are facing DWI charges but police did not actually see you driving your vehicle, turn to Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law. Mr. DeUrso is a seasoned DWI lawyer who can help you devise a defense that may result in lesser charges, reduced penalties, or a dismissal of your case. Call 914-772-8614 to schedule an initial consultation with a White Plains criminal attorney today.
Can I Get a DWI for Sleeping in My Car?
If you have had too much to drink but realize it is too late to call a cab, you may feel inclined to sleep it off in your car. In most cases, you will not face DWI charges if police find you sleeping in the backseat, away from the ignition and controls, as long as the vehicle is not running.
Leaving the car off is only a valid option for a few months out of the year, though. If it is cold outside and you attempt to sleep in the car but you turn on the heat first, you could face DWI charges. Even if you were not driving the car, you had to operate it in order to turn on the heat.
How Can I Defend Myself If I Was Sleeping When Police Found Me?
If police arrest you for sleeping in a running vehicle while intoxicated, your DWI lawyer may recommend one of several possible defense strategies, depending on the circumstances of your case. Ultimately, your case will come down to intent, and you will have to prove that you did not intend to drive the vehicle while you were still inebriated.
There is a variety of ways to prove that such a scenario did not involve intent to drive. For example, if police found you curled up in the backseat, your attorney may remind the judge of that fact. If you were sleeping in the driver’s seat, though, this will not be a valid defense, even if you were not wearing a seatbelt and the seat was reclined.
Additionally, if police arrested you during the wintertime, your attorney may be able to prove that you turned on the vehicle to stay warm and that you had no intention of driving. According to Business Insider, temperatures hover around the low 20s in New York City during the wintertime, and they drop even lower the farther upstate you go, so this could be a valid defense in some cases.
If police have accused you of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that does not mean a DWI conviction is imminent. An experienced criminal attorney like Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law can assess your case and help you determine the best way to proceed.
Call 914-772-8614 to schedule an initial consultation with a White Plains DWI lawyer today. You can learn more about DWI defense in New York by visiting USAttorneys.com.