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Charged With DWI While Parked: What To Do Next

For most people, an arrest for driving while impaired (DWI) occurs following a traffic stop. However, not every arrest for this offense occurs when a person is driving on a public road or highway. Under the law, it is possible to be arrested and charged with DWI while you are parked.

While this might sound unreasonable, state law is clear that this type of arrest is allowed. This is because you can be found guilty of DWI as long as you are in physical control of a motor vehicle. This can happen when you are parked—even with the keys out of the ignition.

If you have been arrested for DWI, there are steps you should take to protect yourself. DWI charges are often defensible, and the state dismisses these cases every day. Let a DWI attorney review your case and assist you with developing your defense strategy. Reach out right away to the attorneys of Gerald Miller.

Can I Even Be Convicted of DWI While Parked?

Even though the offense is referred to as “driving while impaired,” it is important to understand you could be found guilty even if you were not actively driving at the time of your arrest. DWI is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 169A. This statute makes it illegal to drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired.

There is little doubt what it means to drive or operate a motor vehicle. However, the definition of physical control is not so clear. What is clear is that this offense applies to situations beyond driving a motor vehicle. How far this extends is a question decided by Minnesota courts.

The scope of physical control is both broad and unclear. There is no firm rule on when a person is in physical control of the vehicle. Instead, the presence of certain factors is important. A person sitting in the front seat of a running vehicle is more likely to be found in physical control than a person asleep in the back.

Are These Charges Worth Fighting?

Some people that have been arrested for DWI—even those arrested while parked—might feel a sense of hopelessness regarding these criminal charges. The police and prosecutors exude confidence, and many assume that fighting back is pointless. Nothing could be further from the truth. The steps you take after a DWI arrest are important because you have the opportunity to avoid a conviction entirely.

Not every DWI defense can be successful. However, it is impossible to know the strengths and weaknesses of your case until you have the chance to speak to a criminal defense attorney.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller could help you understand your chances when you face DWI charges. There are many ways to successfully approach your defense, but the right strategy will depend on the facts. Let our firm help you fight back.

Important Steps to Take After a DWI Arrest

It is possible for you to impact the outcome of your DWI case—for better or for worse. That is why it is so important for you to take care and avoid any errors that could damage your case. Some of the important steps to take after being arrested for DWI while parked include:

Don’t Talk About Your Case

The steps you take—and don’t take—following your arrest will have a major impact on the outcome of your DWI case. In some situations, the things you do or say could make it much harder for your attorney to defend your case and secure a favorable outcome.

One of the most important things to avoid is discussing any aspect of your DWI case. This includes talking to police or even posting on social media. Anything you say—especially an admission of drinking—could be used against you at trial. Your best bet for protecting yourself is to avoid any discussion of your case whatsoever until it is over.

Protect Your License

If you have been charged with DWI, your criminal case is likely your top priority. However, you should not ignore the administrative case that could also threaten your right to drive. Driver’s license suspensions are a part of a DWI arrest, but they can occur before your criminal case goes to trial.

The good news is that you have the right to fight back against the revocation of your driving privileges. To do so, you have to act fast. You have 30 days from the date you received notice of your revocation to request a hearing. If you fail to request a hearing in time, you will lose your chance to challenge the revocation of your license.

Arrange for Transportation

In a best-case scenario, you will avoid a revocation of your license after a judicial review of your revocation. However, not everyone will be successful. If your driving privileges are revoked, it is important that you take steps to arrange for transportation following a DWI arrest. This could involve lining rides from friends or co-workers or even buying a bicycle.

There are other options that might be available to you as well. Even though your license is revoked, it is possible for you to get a driving permit in some cases. You might have to install an interlock device and only drive to and from work, but this option could allow you to get behind the wheel again sooner rather than later.

Keep Track of your Court Dates

One of the most frustrating aspects of a DWI charge is the constant stream of court dates. You could be required to appear in court numerous times from the date of your arraignment to the day your trial occurs. If you fail to make it to a mandatory court date, you could face additional criminal charges.

One of the benefits of working with an attorney is that they can appear on your behalf at most of these court dates. Putting you case in the hands of experienced legal counsel could give free up time and prevent you from having to take off of work to make it to your court hearing. This is an option for most hearings, but you are required to appear for trial or any time the court orders it.

Record the Details of your Arrest

It is not uncommon for memories to fade following an arrest for DWI. While the details might seem fresh now, the reality is that most people forget important details over time. This is especially true in cases where a DWI trial might not take place for a year or longer after the date of an arrest.

Taking down the details of an arrest immediately after it occurs improves your chances of keeping the facts straight. You can use these notes to refresh your memory after the arrest, which could only benefit you if you end up testifying at trial.

Hire an Attorney

When it comes to important steps to take after being arrested for DWI, a few are as important is contacting experienced, legal counsel. The right attorney could advise you on your options for defending yourself at trial. In many cases, your attorney could act as you a confidant and sounding board as you go through the challenging aspects of the criminal justice system.

You will only put yourself at risk if you act as an attorney on your own. Hiring experienced legal counsel could improve your chances of a favorable outcome at trial. Letting your attorney take the lead on your defense will also provide you with the opportunity to focus on getting other aspects of your life in order.

Talk to Attorney Gerald Miller Today

Not every attorney is the same. You deserve experienced legal counsel that is not afraid to aggressively fight against the prosecution. A strong defense could result in the dismissal of your case or even an acquittal at trial.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to serve as your advocates. We have a long track record of success when it comes to winning DWI cases. If you are considering taking your case to trial, we are here to help. Let our team help advise you every step of the way. Reach out to Gerald Miller for a free consultation as soon as possible.

Related Content: What It Means To Be In Physical Control of A Vehicle For DWI



About the author

Kyle Dreger

Kyle Dreger is a skilled DUI/DWI and Criminal Defense lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. Kyle has received his law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He is also a professionally trained basketball player.

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