My clients have repeadelty asked the question on “whether or not you have to be actually driving to be convicted of a DWI?” There is no easy answer to this question because according to the New Jersey Supreme Court the actual test is whether or not the defendant/motorist charged with DWI in violation of N.J.S.A. had the “intention” to operate the motor vehicle. See, State v. Sweeney.
In other words, a defendant/motorist charged with driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs does not have to be in the driver’s seat so to speak for a Municipal Court Judge to find him/her guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or a narcatic in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.
As long as the municipal prosecutor can establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the totality of the circumstances surrounding defendant’s conduct equated to an “intention” to operate a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs then that defendant/motorist can be found guilty of DWI.
If you have a similar situation, give DWI attorney Dan T. Matrafajlo a call for a free office consultation to discuss your particular case.