What does it mean to be “operating” a car for the purposes of a DWI arrest? A number of situtions have come up where a person is arrested for DWI while occupying his or her car, but not operating the car for purposes of a DWI. The Court of Appeals in Amarillo, No. 07-13-00356-CR), issued an an opinion in June where they held that a person arrested for DWI was not operating his vehicle when it was shown that he was asleep in his car in a parking lot with the engine running and the car in park. The court found that there was insufficient evidence of “operating” his car, and he had made no admission of operating his car. So, if you are not sure you are sober enough to drive home, you can pull into a parking lot and go to sleep. It is always better to get a ride home, or take a cab and worry about your car the next day, but this can serve as a backup plan.
Stay safe out there!