Not many people are aware, but in the state of New Jersey, a motorist doesn’t actually have to driving to be charged with a DWI. To legally convict you of a DWI, the government must prove you were operating a vehicle and you were intoxicated while doing so. While intoxication seems cut and clear, the definition of operation in New Jersey is broad. The officer does not actually have to observe you driving the car to arrest your for a DWI. If the state finds evidence that you drove while intoxicated prior to the arrest or intended to drive while intoxicated, then you can be convicted of a DWI without anyone actually observing the act.
If you are drunk and plan on sitting/sleeping in your car, do not put your keys in the ignition. That alone can prove the prosecution’s case against you.
If you’re intoxicated while in your car and are approached by an officer, the best defense you can use is the “glove box defense.” This defense includes keeping empty containers of alcohol in your trunk. Doing so allows you to argue whether you became intoxicated before or after actually operating the car. This can lead to a Consumption of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle charge, but it’s definitely preferable to a DWI considering no license suspensions come with it.
If you’ve been charged with a DWI, whether you were in motion or not, contact the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., as soon as possible. We know how to beat the charges and ensure the best possible outcome for our clients.