To be clearer, I am wondering when police can arrest you for a DUI? I read recently of some guy, who was drunk, getting in his car and not going anywhere (he intended to sleep it off in his car) and the police arrested him for a DUI.
So, at what point does a DUI occur (assuming a person is legally over the limit for alcohol or some other intoxicant)? What if they get in the passenger seat or back seat? Is turning the car on for heat or AC enough?
My guess is to attribute this to sloppy reporting. If the event happened at all, they arrested him for something else, and the reporter dumbed it down to “DUI”. Or maybe there were related events that were not reported well enough, like if that guy had announced loudly “I’m going home”, and the police stopped him before he could do any harm. Or something like that.
From WIKI: “The criminal offense may not involve actual driving of the vehicle, but rather may broadly include being physically “in control” of a car while intoxicated, even if the person charged is not in the act of driving. For example, a person found in the driver’s seat of a car while intoxicated and holding the car keys, even while parked, may be charged with DUI, because he or she is in control of the vehicle.”
In some jurisdictions, even sleeping in the back seat of the car while drunk can result in DUI arrest, if you have the keys.
I have a vehicle with a push button ignition that works as long as the key fob is within remote range. How does that work, I wonder? If you want to sleep it off in your vehicle in that case, do you have to leave the key fob entirely out of range to not risk a DUI?
So even if the dumbed-down name of the law refers to “driving”, it is actually about being “in control of” the vehicle.
Seeing the words makes all the difference, and suddenly, what had been outlandish makes some sense, at least in some circumstances, at the discretion of the police officer at the time. Thank you very much.
50 states, 50 potential answers. The Massachusetts statute refers to “operating” a motor vehicle, not driving. I knew a cop in Massachusetts who had made several DUI arrests of people who left a bar and used the keys to try to enter the driver’s seat, even before they sat down. The only part of the car they operated was the door.
If they leave the bar (or wherever) and their choice is leave or sleep it off isn’t encouraging them to sleep it off a better choice? If they think they will get busted doing so they may be encouraged to try and drive instead.