The Cops Didn’t See Me Driving – Can I Still Get a DWI?
This question is similar to the age-old philosophical query “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” But in order to get a DWI, someone would have to see you do something.
For example, a citizen bystander could report your driving to the cops, who could come into contact and investigate you for a DWI. Even though the investigating cop never actually saw you driving, the citizen bystander could be subpoenaed to testify at trial about what they observed.
In another example, either no one saw you driving or you never drove, but a cop observes you in physical control of a vehicle while impaired. Minnesota law makes it a crime to “drive, operate, or be in physical control” of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. “Physical control” means being in a position to “exercise dominion or control” over the vehicle – having the “means to initiate any movement” of the vehicle and in “close proximity to the operating controls.” State v. Woodward, 408 N.W.2d 927, 928 (Minn. Ct. App. 1987).
These rare scenarios are ripe for legal challenges by a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. If you have questions about your situation, please give us a call at 763.421.6366.