Yes, you can still get an OWI when not driving

Yes, you can still get an OWI when not driving

You might enjoy hanging out with your friends at the bar in the Waukesha area and having a few drinks. But you might not realize that you can still get an OWI/DUI charge without driving. You do not need to drive your vehicle haphazardly on the roads to do so. If you drink alcohol and sit inside of your vehicle with the keys in the ignition or in your lap, you could find yourself face-to-face with a law enforcement officer. 

According to the laws regarding intoxicated driving, you must not operate a vehicle while under the influence of a substance, in this case, alcohol. You might think that you can use the fact that the vehicle was not turned on when law enforcement detained you. Here is why that defense may not hold up in court. 

There is intent 

Your actions may indicate the possibility that you intended to turn your vehicle on and drive, even though you might actually have been waiting for the symptoms of intoxication to wear off. If there is evidence that you manipulated or activated the controls of your car, you may receive an OWI charge.

You fail sobriety testing 

Once an officer asks you to take a field sobriety test so he/she can determine your level of intoxication, you have two options: to comply or say no and go to jail. You may not think you are intoxicated enough to warrant an OWI charge, but if the officer can prove that your actions gave him or her cause to suspect intoxication and you fail sobriety testing, there is a good chance the charge may stick. Keep in mind that a chemical breath test/sobriety test refusal will cause the officer to immediately suspend your driver’s license. 

Do not ever believe for a moment that you do not have defense options to an OWI charge. Although the state is very strict in prosecuting offenders, there are defense strategies that can reduce and possibly eliminate the charges you face and restore your driving privileges. To better understand what they are, you might find it best to speak with an attorney about your situation.