Can You Be Arrested When You Aren't Driving?
As seen in State v. Morris, 262 N.J. Super. 413, 417 (1993), the term “operate” must be given broad construction. The state's burden to prove that the driver operated the vehicle while intoxicated is not clear and can be incredibly subjective. It is possible that the defendant may have been in the driver's seat of their vehicle while the vehicle was parked in a parking lot with the keys on the dashboard and the court may deem the defendant as having operated the vehicle. It is also possible that the defendant may have been asleep in the back seat of the car and the court deemed the defendant to have been operating the vehicle.It is possible that the defendant may have been in the driver's seat of their vehicle while the vehicle was parked in a parking lot with the keys on the dashboard and the police may deem the defendant as having operated the vehicle. Police will often look to the intent of the driver in determining whether or not he or she was “operating” the vehicle. Case law in New Jersey makes it clear that an individual who attempts to put the keys in the ignition of the vehicle is guilty of driving while intoxicated. Although the individual may never actually drive the vehicle after leaving a bar and may never actually place the keys in the ignition, the New Jersey Supreme Court has held that the intent of the driver is clear and thus sufficient to satisfy operation of the motor vehicle.To prove intent, the state will examine the circumstances, which can include whether or not the car was on/running; whether the driver was awake or sleeping; the location of the keys at the time of law enforcement intervention (keys in the ignition vs the glove compartment could speak to the intent of the driver); where the car was located at the time of the DWI stop (in a parking lot, or right on the side of the road, etc) and any other factors relevant to establishing intent.
Examples of DWI Without Driving
The law in New Jersey makes it clear that an individual who attempts to put the keys in the ignition of the vehicle is guilty of driving while intoxicated. In attempting to prove the operation of the motor vehicle, the state will often look to the intent of the driver. To prove intent, the state will consider questions like:
- Was the car running?
- Was the driver sleeping?
- How long was the driver sleeping?
- Where were the keys located at the time the police became aware of the driver and the vehicle?
- Where was the car located at the time of the stop (parking lot, side of the road, etc.)?
- Was it possible for the vehicle to be driven at the time of the stop (was there a sufficient supply of fuel; were all the tires in place; was the weather prohibitive to being able to operate a vehicle)?
Can A Spouse Sitting In the Passenger Seat Be Charged With DUI?
Driving under the influence is a very serious charge, so people may try to take certain steps to avoid being stopped including having someone else drive their vehicle. However, if you are intoxicated and allow someone else to drive your car, you could still be found guilty of DUI if the person you allowed to drive is intoxicated. In 1996 a New Jersey Supreme Court case, State v. Hessen, concluded “a person who allows an intoxicated person to drive” is “as blameworthy as the drunk driver.”The case above demonstrates some of the different situations that can lead to a DUI. That's why it is possible for a husband or anyone else sitting in the passenger seat to be charged with DUI in the state of New Jersey. The reason this can occur is under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 if a person who is intoxicated allows a second person to drive their vehicle and that person is also intoxicated, they can both be charged for driving under the influence. The specific language used is “permits another to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%.” This interpretation of the law was upheld in State v. Kashi, which ruled that the “permitting” portion of the statute is not a separate offense from DUI but is actually an alternative form of evidence that can be used to prove this offense.
Consequences Of Drunk Driving In New Jersey
Have you been charged with drunk driving in New Jersey? The DWI Defense Attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are here to help! Call 732-800-2980 today!