When you imagine a DUI, you probably picture an inebriated driver swerving all over the road until they are eventually stopped by police. This is certainly one way to earn a DUI, but it doesn’t have to get this extreme in order for a person to face DWI charges. In fact, you don’t even need to be driving the vehicle in order to end up with DWI charges in Minnesota. We explain what we mean by that and how to beat a DWI charge in Minnesota in today’s blog.
DUI Without Driving
When we say that you can get a DUI without driving, we don’t mean that police can just arrest you off the street for no reason and charge you with drunk driving. Instead, we’re referring to what Minnesota defines as “physical control” of a vehicle. You can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol if you are over the legal limit while in physical control of the vehicle, and according to the state, you don’t need to be driving the vehicle in order to meet the standard of physical control.
The state will examine all the factors in your case, but in many instances, if you are in the driver’s seat and in possession of the keys, you are considered in physical control of the vehicle and subject to DUI laws. So even though the vehicle is not in motion, you could end up facing DWI charges for the following circumstances, assuming you were over the legal driving limit at the time.
- Bring passed out behind the wheel at a stop sign.
- Being parked in a parking garage, rest area or city street.
- Sleeping in the driver’s seat in possession of the keys, even if the car is not running.
The last bullet point is the one that has garnered the most debate over the years. Some people think it’s unreasonable to charge a person with DWI if they realize that they are too drunk to drive home, so they decide to sleep it off in their vehicle. However, when looking at the totality of the circumstances, the state may opt to charge the individual with DWI if they were in possession of the keys and sitting in the driver’s seat.
So if you find yourself contemplating sleeping in your car because you had too much to drink, do so in the back seat, and consider placing the keys somewhere out of arm’s reach. It may sound silly, but it’s little factors like this that can make the difference in whether or not you end up charged with DWI. Better yet, with the advent of ridesharing apps, take an Uber and come back to your car in the morning. It’s much cheaper than a DUI!
So if you have any questions about DWI charges in Minnesota, or you want to set up a free case review with our legal team to discuss your charges, contact Appelman Law Firm today at (952) 224-2277.