Join Club

NOVA Legal Beat: DUI While Sleeping in Car?

NOVA Legal Beat logo

Editor’s Note: This new sponsored Q&A column is written by Mathew B. Tully of Tully Rinckey PLLC.

Question: A couple of weeks ago I was out with my buddies and had a few drinks. Instead of taking a cab home, I decided to take a nap in my parked car until I sobered up. The next thing I know an officer is knocking on my window, giving me a sobriety test, and arresting me for a DUI. My keys were in the ignition because I was listening to the radio, but the engine wasn’t turned on. How can I be charged with a DUI if I wasn’t even driving?

Although many assume that DUI or “driving under the influence” only involves driving, it also applies where someone is operating a vehicle — in this case, using the radio.

If you’re drunk and sitting inside the vehicle by yourself and the key is in the ignition, it doesn’t matter if the engine is on or off; this is still considered a DUI because you are “operating” the vehicle. Going even further, if the key is located within your reach or if you have a keyless ignition (push or remote start), as long as you are in a position to turn the car on, you can still be charged with a DUI.

While you may have been charged with a DUI — the circumstances are much different than a typical case where someone, for example, is pulled over while driving down Wilson Boulevard.  In any criminal or DUI case, the facts and circumstances of your particular situation will be taken into consideration in determining the severity of the penalty.

In a complicated situation like the one you’ve described, it’s important not to try and talk your way out of trouble because anything you say can be used against you. It’s best to consult with an attorney who understands DUI laws to avoid digging yourself into an even deeper hole.

Question: I was recently pulled over going 78 in a 55 zone on I-66 East. This is apparently considered “reckless driving” in Virginia. I moved to Northern Virginia from Rhode Island a few weeks ago- if I’m found guilty, will I have points on my new Va. license and will the ticket show up on a background check?

Although the meaning of the offense varies from state to state, in Virginia, “reckless driving” has nothing to do with your driving behavior apart from driving 20 mph over the speed limit.  It counts for 6 points on a Virginia driver’s license and shows up as a Class 1 misdemeanor on record.

Since you haven’t switched your license over from R.I. to Va. yet, the number of points you may or may not receive really depends on R.I. laws. If you apply and receive a Va. license before the conviction and processing of the charge, 6 points will be issued on your Va. driver’s license.

When it comes to the background check, it depends on the kind of background check being performed.  It is always safer to report violations such as these, especially if you’re dealing with a security clearance or immigration application. Failure to report something like this often has more serious consequences than just reporting the offense to begin with.

If you have received a speeding or other traffic ticket, contact an attorney. In addition to showing up on your record, a reckless driving charge could increase your insurance premiums. A traffic ticket attorney can help you explore all of your options and may be able to demonstrate your otherwise responsible driving behavior.

Mathew B. Tully is the Founding Partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC. Located in Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C., Tully Rinckey PLLC’s attorneys practice criminal defense, matrimonial and family law, federal employment law and military law. To speak with an attorney, call 703-525-4700 or to learn more visit 1888law4life.com

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 6626 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

Meeting for lunch? Starting Monday, January 30 and running until Friday, February 3, Copperwood Tavern, The Pinemoor, and Brass Rabbit Pub will be offering buy one, get one free soups, salads, sandwiches, and…

(Updated 3:40 p.m.) Work is ramping up on a new Arlington County bus maintenance building and parking garage in Green Valley. Crews are set to wrap up laying the foundation for…

If you’re not one of the many proudly sporting a Gondola Now shirt around town, you’re missing out on a high quality piece of apparel that starts lots of interesting…

St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.

Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.

We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.

Submit your own Announcement here.

If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.

Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.

The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84855394419

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

First-time Moms Meet & Greet

The truth, your first pregnancy and new mom months are full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and lots of questions! None of us really know the best way to do it – we just figure it out, together…

×

Subscribe to our mailing list