Guilty or not guilty of DUI/DWI?

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Guilty or not guilty of DUI/DWI?

On 10/5/18 I was arrested for DUI in Livingston County, Michigan. I live in a small private mobile home park Suburban Mobile Home Estates. The facts as I know them are I was drunk. I had a .17BAC. I was at a friend’s house in the park. Because I was so drunk another friend drove me to what they thought was my home. However, it was not my home where he parked my vehicle. My friend parked my vehicle in my neighbor’s driveway. My friend turned off my vehicle but left the lights on and walked home. After that, I got out of the passengers side and sat in the drivers seat. As I must have realized I was in the wrong driveway. Nonetheless, I never started my vehicle because I fell asleep. My neighbor called the cops, probably because we do not get along at all as has done so numerous times in the past. In any event, the cops showed up. Found me in the drivers seat sleeping. The police report does not say whether the vehicle was or was not running. Nonetheless, the cops say I told them I was driving and I was going home. I doubt if I said either of those two things. When I get that drunk I mumble and nobody can understand a word I say which is clearly evidenced within the police report. So, am I still guilty of DWI/DUI even though my friend will say he parked my vehicle in my neighbor’s driveway?

Asked on October 11, 2018 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In most jurisdictions, if a person is sitting in the driver’s seat even when the car isn’t started and the key isn’t in the ignition, they can still be charged with DWI. Legally, the police do not have to actually observe you behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Rather, all that is needed is evidence of driving. The fact you were in a driveway could argually be evidence that you had just pulled in or were going to on the road after drinking. Thisis especially true since you had the keys to the car in your possession and were sitting behind the wheel; the fact that you were sleeeping doesn't change things. This would have all been legally sufficient to demonstrate that you exerted control over the car. Additionally, I don't know what, if any, tests were administered to you at the scene (breathalyzer, blood, field sobriety) which would establish that you exerted control over the car at a time when you were legally intoxicated. That having been said, this does not mean that you don't have legal grounds on which to fight the charge.  Defenses may be enlisted which could result in getting the charge dismissed or at least reduced. At this point you need to consult directly with a local lawyer who handles drunk driving cases. Since a DUI can trigger both civil and criminal penalties, you should have legal representation.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In most jurisdictions, if a person is sitting in the driver’s seat even when the car isn’t started and the key isn’t in the ignition, they can still be charged with DWI. Legally, the police do not have to actually observe you behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Rather, all that is needed is evidence of driving. The fact you were in a driveway could argually be evidence that you had just pulled in or were going to on the road after drinking. Thisis especially true since you had the keys to the car in your possession and were sitting behind the wheel; the fact that you were sleeeping doesn't change things. This would have all been legally sufficient to demonstrate that you exerted control over the car. Additionally, I don't know what, if any, tests were administered to you at the scene (breathalyzer, blood, field sobriety) which would establish that you exerted control over the car at a time when you were legally intoxicated. That having been said, this does not mean that you don't have legal grounds on which to fight the charge.  Defenses may be enlisted which could result in getting the charge dismissed or at least reduced. At this point you need to consult directly with a local lawyer who handles drunk driving cases. Since a DUI can trigger both civil and criminal penalties, you should have legal representation.


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