DWI Law: What Does It Mean To “Operate” A Vehicle

Driving a car while intoxicated isn’t the only way that you can receive a DWI.

Many people often have the wrong assumption about the type of people who get arrested for alcohol related charges. For instance, most people tend to presume that the only individuals who get pulled over for driving while intoxicated (DWI) are irresponsible or don’t know their limits when it comes to drinking and driving, however they couldn’t be more wrong.

A DWI is an equal opportunity charge. Most of the people who get charged for driving while intoxicated are average people just like you and I. Some are doctors and lawyers, while others may be parents or teachers. These charges can happen to someone who has been drinking for years or even someone who is going out and drinking for their very first time. However, what many people don’t realize is that a DWI can even happen to someone who is trying to be responsible.

For example, let’s say that a person goes out to the bar with their friends. After laughing and talking for a few hours, the bar closes and they realize that they’ve had just a little too much to drink. They walk out to their car and decide that it’s probably not the best idea to drive home. Instead, they get into their car, turn on the radio and “sleep it off” for an hour or so until they can safely drive home. However, the next thing they know, they are being woken up by a police officer and are charged with a DWI.

The question is, can the state really charge you for driving while intoxicated if you were simply sleeping in your car and it wasn’t even moving? In some cases, they can.

Under Texas state law, a person can be found guilty of a DWI if there is sufficient proof that they “operated” a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Unfortunately, the term “operating” not only includes the process of moving your vehicle from one location to another, but it also includes starting the engine, engaging the machinery of the motor vehicle, or manipulating the electrical equipment inside the vehicle even without putting the car in motion.

Under this definition, there are several instances in which you can be charged for a DWI without driving, as long as contact an experienced DWI lawyer if you have been charged with a DWI.

By contacting a professional who has significant experience in DWI law, you can ensure that your case is handled properly and that you avoid any charges and fines that you do not deserve.