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Why actual physical control matters of the car matters in a DWI

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

If you’re facing DWI charges, one thing to consider is whether or not you were in actual physical control of the vehicle. This is an element of DWI arrests that people are not always quite clear on. Officials may need to show that you were in control of the vehicle in order to convict you on those charges.

The issue is that people sometimes use their vehicles as shelters. One example could be someone who stayed out too late at the bar, realized they couldn’t drive home and decided to sleep for the night in the vehicle. They are clearly not controlling the vehicle and they’re not driving, but this can raise a lot of different questions.

How your DWI case could play out

Using the example above, consider that a person could put their keys in the glove box and sleep on the back seat. If a police officer knocks on the window, they’ll be able to see that this person was certainly not driving and was just trying to sleep in the car until they were sober enough to be safe. 

If the person is sitting in the front seat of the car and the keys are still in the ignition, they may appear to be asleep. But they could still be given DWI charges. The reasoning is that they may have very recently been driving the vehicle and then pulled over or even simply passed out behind the wheel. The fact that the vehicle isn’t moving doesn’t absolve them from that, so they could be arrested, even if they claimed that they were just trying to sleep it off.

As you can see, DWI arrests are more complicated than people often assume, so be sure you understand all of your options for a solid defense.