DWI–Without Driving Your Car!

February 19, 2010

Here we go again. As we explained back in April of last year, it’s quite possible to get a DWI just for being in or near your car, even if you’re not driving.

One evening in Minnesota, Daryl Fleck, had about a dozen beers. He felt intoxicated and he decided to sleep it off in his car which was parked outside of his house. When the police arrived, he was sleeping in his car with the driver’s side door in an open position.

Daryl had left his keys in the center console of his car. The car keys were nowhere near the ignition. At the time the police arrived the engine was cold and there was no indication the car had been started. The police officers determined that Mr. Fleck was intoxicated. His explanation as to why he was sleeping in the car made no sense to the police.

Minnesota has a legal blood alcohol limit of .08. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Fleck’s blood alcohol level was .18. 

Mr. Fleck was convicted of driving while intoxicated in Minnesota because he had access to the vehicle while intoxicated. He received 48 months in jail plus 5 years probation. He appealed his case all the way up to the Minnesota Supreme Court which affirmed his conviction.

His attorneys were able to show the court that even if Mr. Fleck had put his keys into the ignition and tried to start the car it would not have started. This is because the car was not in running condition.

There have been case in New York that our office has been involved with involving individuals charged with driving while intoxicated who had never started their car. I have repeatedly told clients that in the event they are intoxicated, do not go near your car. The courts have given very liberal interpretations in the State of New York as well as in the State of Minnesota as to when the crime of driving while intoxicated occurs. In New York you simply need to be in your car in the driver’s seat in an intoxicated state with access to the ignition key.

Should you be charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol, it is important that you consult a law firm experienced in handling these matters. For more than 30 years, the Law Offices of Elliot S. Schlissel have represented individuals on DWI and DUI matters. We have provided excellent representation to hundreds of individuals who have been charged with drinking while driving offenses. Should you or a loved one be faced with a criminal charge of driving while intoxicated, e-mail or call us at 800-344-6431. We can help you.

Picture courtesy of wcco.com.

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