THIS is drunk driving??

From today’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Now it’s quite possible he had a BAC of .25 when he drove home, but it’s also quite possible he had two beers at the bar then drove home and had a six-pack.

I’m all for toughening drunk driving laws - heck, I think anyone busted for DUI more than once should be charged with attempted manslaughter - but forfeiture of a $40k SUV seems excessive.

What do you guys think?

It seems that they have inconclusive proof that he was actually “driving while drunk”, and as such, I imagine that the charge would probably get taken down in court.

Unless there’s something that the article’s not saying…?

SPOOFE, honey, did you read the headline of the article? It’s already been to court and the seizure was upheld.

In Texas, you don’t have to be driving, all you have to do is sit in the drivers seat with the keys in the ignition.

Holy shit… I missed that.

That’s whack, man.

I can understand that. They have to make sure someone isn’t really driving and then have them trying to make an excuse about how they weren’t really driving. But if the laws in Minnesota aren’t like that, then yeah, I think it’s at the very least questionable.

operating a radio is operating a vehicle:)

I didn’t realize that driving laws were in effect on your own private property. Remind me to never make a u-turn in my front yard.

Oh, yeah. If you’re in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, you’re in control of the vehicle. Doesn’t matter if you were doing a hundred miles an hour down the bike path, or if you’re parked in the driveway, or if you’re parked in the fire escape doorway of the Wal-Mart–you’re going down.

True story: way back when, a couple of buddies of mine at James Madison University dropped acid and drove up a mountain, where they found themselves too wasted to go home. So they did the logical thing and cracked open the case of beer they had in the trunk of the car.

Sooner rather than later they were visited by a Sheriff’s Deputy. He proceeded to give my friend the field test, which he failed, and asked him to turn over the keys. He couldn’t find them. My pal looked everywhere, as did the officer, but the keys were gone. When the backup arrived, the second officer heard the (partially true) story, checked the trunk, and found the keys still in the lock.

No DWI, and for honesty’s sake, the 5-0 dropped them off at home, where they happened to be throwing a keg party. They didn’t bother to bust it.

In case you really don’t understand: You can make bad U-turns on your own property all you want. You can built your own stop sign and red light and run them all day long. Nothing will happen.
But if you drive around your yard drunk, you can be arrested.
The reason is simple: Running a red light is a civil infraction, not criminal. DUI is a crime. It is a criminal violation, not a civil infraction. Just as you will be arrested for murdering someone on your own property, you can be arrested for DUI on your own property.

For a DUI, the person only needs to be “*in actual physical control of a vehicle *”[sup]1[/sup] . This includes sleeping in the front seat while in possession of the keys and yes even sitting there listening to the radio.

*1- (FL SS 316.193 YMMV-I’m sure it’s very similar everywhere, though).

Actually, if the cop wants to be a dick about it, they CAN arrest you for running a light, or stop sign, or for driving a few miles over the limit.

So, basically, these were just really, really anal cops?

Maybe the cops knew him, this was his third drunk-driving related charge, that may have been related to their not cutting him any slack.

Here’s a story for you…

Back in 1974, right after I got out of the Army, I went to a party to visit some folks I hadn’t seen for a while. I was only there a few minutes before a friend and his girlfriend asked if I wanted to go to a bar to celebrate my newfound freedom. The party wasn’t all that great so I said OK, and we got up to leave. He said he was too buzzed to drive and asked me to drive. No problem.

We all get in their car, a small Toyota I think it was, me driving, him in the passenger seat, her in the back. About a mile later, we get pulled over for a broken tail light (seems the local constabulary knew my friend’s car and didn’t think highly of him). Now, unbeknownst to me, Cindi was still holding a drink from the party.

Result: 4 tickets. One for a broken tail light, and three for open bottle. One for me (driver), one for him (owner), and one for her (in possession of alcohol in a moving vehicle). $50 each.

What’s important is intent. Was he intent on driving the truck? Would it be in the cops best interests to arrest him then so that he would have no chance of getting on the road later?

Things like intent get decided before the judge. The cop must protect society & he did.

I honestly would have thought that one could legally operate a motor vehicle without regard to traffic laws upon their own property. For instance, suppose a farmer got tanked one day and decided to do doughnuts in his own pasture. Looks like if he lives in Minnesota he can be convicted of DUI. I just would have not thought so.

This was 1996 in SC. Most of the cases were DUI. One of the cases had a directed verdict dismissing the case. IIRC, here were the details:

A car runs into the house.

The residents (presumably after one loud collective WTF!) rush outside to see what’s going on.

They see some drunken yo-yo stumbling around in their yard.

Case dismissed. Reason: No one actually saw the person driving the vehicle.

Doesn’t really address the OP. Just thought I’d share.

it’s called YMMV.

IIRC, in my home state (MI) there was a legislator who had the habit of driving drunk. One of the many times he was arrested for it, he was found in his car, passed out, in the drivers seat, car running, by the side of the highway. He beat that one on the basis of “ya didn’t see me driving”. They fixed that loophole, post haste. He eventually died due to alcoholism.

So, I guess the point is that in some jurisdictions, you can be convicted of drunk driving if you’re in your car, behind the wheel, keys in the ignition, and/or car turned on. So, if you’re planning on doing that, check w/your local authorities (yea, they’ll be happy to answer that question) Or, better yet, if you’ve been drinking, stay out from behind the wheel of your car, period.

In this case it does not seem that the Drunk Driving Charge is at issue

He either had no counsel or poor counsel with respect to what the penalties for the guilty plea could be. If he knew his $40,000 SUV was at risk, he might have fought it or agreed to a plea that would not lead to forfeiture of the SUV.

Well maybe in your state. Where are you? You cannot be arrested for running a red light in Florida.
I guess the only way an officer could possibly do such a thing would be to arrest you for “Reckless Driving”. The problem is reckless driving requires “Willful and Wanton disregard for public safety”. Simply running a red light or speeding would not be sufficient for reckless driving. This would take a total clueless dickhead! (unfortunately they’re out there). The charges would never pass the state attorney though. It’s not really even a lawful arrest! He would be in so much trouble. I just can’t see it happening. At any rate, if such a thing did happen you would not be arrested for the crime “running a red light” or “speeding”, you would be arrested for “reckless driving”.
Are you saying that where you are, an officer can legally arrest someone for speeding?
The only other way I could think of you being arrested for running a stop sign or something would be if you failed to sign the ticket. You are required to sign the ticket.

Back to the OP:
Case law in Florida (at least in Hillsborough County) has ruled that if you are behind the wheel, with the keys just in your lap- you are guilty of DUI. If you are behind the wheel with the keys lying on the passenger-side floorboard- you are not guilty of DUI. That’s where the line is drawn here. So make sure the keys are not in your possession!