It used to be that a police officer was required to witness someone actually operate a vehicle before that person could be arrested for drunk driving. For example, someone asleep in a motionless car who was consuming alcohol did not necessarily provide the officer enough basis for a drunk driving arrest. However, in 1995, the Michigan Supreme Court greatly widened the definition of “operating” a motor vehicle and no longer required a police officer to see someone drive to make a valid drunk driving arrest. Now, “once a person puts a motor vehicle in motion, or in a position posing a significant risk of collision, he or she continues to “operate” that vehicle (even if asleep) until the vehicle is returned to a position posing no such risk.” People v. Wood, 450 Mich 399 (1995).
If you feel as though you have had one too many drinks to drive and need to sleep it off, make your resting place the back seat of your vehicle and ensure the engine is not running. You should also make sure that someone sober parks your vehicle in a way that does not impede traffic or give the police any reason to claim you still meet the statutory definition of “operating” a motor vehicle for a Michigan OWI arrest. Contact Michigan DUI Attorney Joseph Awad to discuss your Michigan drunk driving arrest today. The advice is free and confidential.
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