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How to Drive Under the Influence While Sleeping

How to Drive Under the Influence While Sleeping

Information courtesy of Lawrence Taylor - DUIblog

The DUI laws make it unlawful to drive (or, in some states, "operate") a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (or over .08% blood-alcohol). That seems pretty clear: driving...vehicle...under the influence. Not really very complicated, is it?

No, unless youre an officer, a prosecutor or a MADD lobbyist trying to stretch the language of these laws to fashion a larger net. How about that little word "driving", for example? Now just what does that really mean?

Well, it means driving. Engine on, moving, steering, shifting, braking... that kind of thing, right? Wrong.

Lets take a look at a few examples of how law enforcement, prosecutors and courts have increasingly expanded that seemingly simple word to widen the DUI dragnet -- by doing violence to the clear language and intent of the law.

- Engine off, car being pushed or towed....Lets consider a case where the engine was off, but it was in motion -- say, being towed? And the defendant was behind the wheel, steering: Is that driving? Yes, say some courts: "While a person is being towed, the person assumes responsibility for steering and braking the vehicle in a safe manner." State v. Dean (Oregon, 733 P.2d 105).

Well, ok, maybe its not a huge stretch to include a towed car within the term "driving". At least its moving.

- Engine on, but vehicle parked....What if the car isnt moving? What if the individual is just sitting behind the wheel of his car, parked but with the engine on, say, to keep the heater working? Many courts will require some movement of the vehicle, but others consider this "driving" or "operating".

- Engine on, but vehicle inoperable....An Ohio court had no trouble finding "driving" where the defendant was behind thewheel of her car, engine on -- but stuck in the mud with two blown tires. City of Columbus v. Seabolt (607 N.E.2d 61).

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