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Can I get a DWI If I Wasn't Driving?

Posted by Tilem & Associates, PC || 9-Nov-2016

Holiday weekends are often when most the people are arrested for DWI. Maybe you decided to celebrate the long weekend with some coworkers over happy hour. After knocking a couple drinks back, and noshing on some bar bites, you say goodbye. You get in your car, drive for a bit and then pull over because you realize you are too intoxicated to drive safely. After falling asleep in your vehicle, you are startled by a police officer knocking on your window and before you know it, you are handcuffed and in the back of the squad car, arrested for DWI.

How is this possible, you were not driving at the time the police found you!

In New York, you can be arrested and charged with DWI, even if you were not operating the vehicle at the time of the arrest. This is due to what is referred to by law enforcement as probable cause. Probable cause means that even though police never saw you driving the car, they can deduce that you were driving the car at some point while you were intoxicated.

Examples of probable cause:

  • Your headlights were on
  • The hood of your vehicle is still warm
  • The keys were in the ignition
  • The car had to have been driven to get to your location

If you plan to drink, make sure you plan a safe trip home. Use public transportation, rideshare apps, cabs or call a friend or family member to pick you up. It might be inconvenient, but nothing is more inconvenient than being arrested and charged with DWI.

If you were arrested for DWI, contact Tilem & Associates, PC to speak to a skilled White Plains DWI attorney.