St. Paul, MN criminal defense attorney Robert Ambrose talks about whether or not someone has to be driving in order to get a DWI.
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No. In Minnesota, you can be convicted of driving while impaired by just being in physical control of the motor vehicle. Minnesota often looks at can you make that vehicle a source of danger without too much effort. And that can be one of the factors to find somebody in physical control of the vehicle. Sometimes the courts will take a look at whether you’re in the driver’s seat or not, are the keys in the ignition. Or now a lot of people have key fobs, where they don’t actually have a key in the ignition. They just press a button. Well, where is that key? Is it in their pocket? And can they really move that car with little effort? A lot of people say, “Well, I didn’t drive. I pull over into a parking lot and I wanted to sleep it off. How could I possibly be convicted of driving while impaired when I was actually sleeping while impaired?” Those physical control factors, courts can sometimes find them against you.