Can You Get a DWI for Being Asleep, Parked in a Parking Lot?

Common sense and good public policy says NO! However, cops and prosecutors are taught otherwise. So, what is the legal answer? The legal answer is: DWI in Texas is “operate a motor vehicle.” The terms “operate a motor vehicle” are NOT defined in the Texas Penal Code, so judges and juries are free to assign their own definition to “operate.” I have had both juries and judges say Not Guilty in situations where a defendant is behind the wheel, asleep, and the vehicle is in park, parked in a parking lot or on a residential street. The obvious follow up... Continue reading →

What is a DWI on Private Property?

One of the requirements of a Texas DWI is that it be committed on public property. Texas Penal Code 49.04 defines Driving While Intoxicated as “A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” So how does the law define public place? Texas Penal Code 1.07 (40) defines public place as “Any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.”... Continue reading →