In New York, If I Am Sleeping In A Car, Can I Be Charged With A DWI?
I am asked this question quite often and the answer is not as simple as it may seem. It always comes down to a question of the facts.
If you are sitting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle for the purpose of driving the vehicle even if it is not moving then the DWI charge may stick. Factors to consider are whether or not the prosecutor can prove that the motorist had recently driven the vehicle or that the motorist was seated at the wheel with the motor running with a present intention to drive or operate the vehicle.
On the other hand if the facts make out that the motorist was in fact:
1. Intoxicated and,
2. Sitting behind the wheel of the vehicle and,
3. There is no evidence that he or she had recently driven the vehicle and,
4. The motorist had no intention to operate the vehicle at the time and,
5. The motorist had started the vehicle to turn on the heater (in the Winter) for the sole purpose of keeping warm. Then under these facts and circumstances a conviction for DWI may be avoided.