An upheld conviction in the Minnesota Supreme Court further expands the situations in which a person can be arrested, charged, and found guilty of DWI. Many people mistakenly think that exerting control over the vehicle means driving it. Not so, says the court’s most recent decision.
On the evening of June 11, 2007 Daryl Fleck was found sleeping in his vehicle parked in his apartment parking lot. The engine was cold and the keys on the console. There was no indication that he had been driving. It was later found, after impoundment, that the car would not start.
When police woke Fleck he admitted to having drunk about 12 beers and his blood alcohol content was .18%. Fleck was arrested and charged with DUI. At trial a jury convicted Fleck, perhaps due in part to his numerous prior DUI convictions.
The state Supreme Court took the case to “expand the precedent to cover the case of mere presence in an undriven– and perhaps undrivable—car into the definition of drunk driving” according to this article from TheNewspaper.com.
The potential for a vehicle to become an extreme danger to both the person behind the wheel and to the public at large is seemingly too great to allow someone to even sleep off their intoxication in their car. Now, if you are found behind the wheel and you are intoxicated, you can be charged regardless of the condition of the vehicle or even your intent.
People don’t always plan to drink too much. A designated driver is a noble idea but not always the reality. Sometimes people underestimate their level of intoxication and think they “can make it home” okay.
Unfortunately, once you are intoxicated, your judgment is impaired and you are not likely fit to determine your ability to drive. Once behind the wheel, whether your car will start or not, the law says you become in immediate danger of not only hurting yourself or someone else, but also of getting arrested.
When facing DWI charges in Minnesota, you need a local defense attorney advocating for your rights. Whether this is your first offense or you’ve been in trouble before, the penalties you face in a DWI case are nothing to take lightly.