Can I get a DWI while not driving?
Is a DWI charge affected if I am not driving?
While you may not be the one physically driving the vehicle you are in, should you get pulled over and are found to be beyond the nationwide limitation of alcohol of .08 (save Arizona which has a policy of anything gaining you a conviction if you are found driving with any consumption of alcohol), most States can and will charge you with a DUI or DWI. Each State is specific on its terns and conditions that determins what is illegal to drive under the influence, so it is wise to seek them out based upon the State you are currently living and/or charged in.
Are there any exceptions that allow the charge if you are simply inside the vehicle?
What most people do not realize is that most States also have some type of variation that allows, by law, police to charge you with a DUI or DWI even when you are not the person physically driving the vehicle. Depending on the State, you could often be charged with attempting to drive, operate, or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Simply stated, "attempting" to operate is interpreted as someone who is trying to drive the car. And "operating" means putting power to the wheels and moving the car. Therefore, attempting to operate means just that, including taking a substantial step towards operating. Typically, the penalties are the same as for driving under the influence. For instance, if you get in the vehicle, start and place in gear, this is an intentional action that has serious consequences. There are even times where less actions will require the same consequesces. If you were to get in the vehicle, put on your seat belt, and start the engine the judge or jury may think you intended to drive because of the seat belt and convict you. Another example would be if you were drunk, sit in the car, start the car and heater or radio, and then go to sleep while parked, you could still be charged with a DUI or DWI, even though you were not attempting to operate the vehicle. It is still possible that you could have the charge overturned, however, that would be a very difficult and expensive fight. The bottom line is, do not get in a vehicle when you have been drinking and sit behind the wheel, even just to go to sleep, as in some states just touching the steering wheel even with the engine off is ground for arrest and being charged with a DUI or DWI. You could be convicted just for being able to drive if you wanted to drive.
Is a DWI charge as serious as a DUI charge?
The charges for a DUI and a DWI are very serious, and should not be taken lightly. Your driver's license can be suspended, even revoked, if you are found to be anywhere near the boundaries of being intoxicated and behind the wheel at the same time. It is also important to remember that trying to get these charges expunged will cost you a very high price, and has long-term effects on your credit score, criminal record and daily routine. It is in your best interest to not drink and drive, utalizing all other options in calling someone to pick you up and not be behing the wheel even if you are simply trying to sleep it off.
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