Can you get a DWI if you were not in the car? 4 Answers as of April 26, 2011

I was arrested for a dwi at a bar in the parking lot because of a disput with the bouncer. I was not near my car, although it was in the parking lot. the bouncer told police that I drove to the bar already drinking. Is this a legal dwi?

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
If the Prosecuting attorney can prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol then yes, otherwise no. You should hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/26/2011
Law Office of William R. Falcone, Esq.
Law Office of William R. Falcone, Esq. | William R. Falcone
They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you operated the vehicle while intoxicated. They can use the testimony if the bouncer and present circumstantial evidence to exclude other possibilities. However that being said an experienced criminal lawyer needs to look at the case file and speak with the witnesses before hand to asses the strength of the case and prepare for trial. You have a decent chance of winning if you are represented. I would also recommend someone who regularly tries these cases in the court you are in. That attorney can also give you a feel for how your judge treats cases like yours so you can better assess your chances at trial. Good luck in resolving your legal matter.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 4/26/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
It is a bit far fetched for the police to enforce a DWI upon you using a civilian's testimony that you drove into the parking lot drunk, especially if he let you into the bar and you had another drink. If he refused to let you in and you drove into the lot, then the bouncer can be a civilian witness to you driving while intoxicated - if the police eventually tested you and you blew over a .08 or .05. You don't have to be in the car when the police arrive if the bouncer is willing to be a witness. Hire a good experienced criminal defense lawyer and fight it nonetheless. The last trial I had there were two bouncers who were so-called witnesses and I was able to destroy them on the witness stand because both of them were prior felony offenders and the jury didn't believe them after they testified. Many bouncers have checkered backgrounds and that may lead to a way out of the mess you're presently in. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/25/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
No, you have to be operating the vehicle to get a DWI. The bouncer is not going to be able to get you arrested, only the police can charge you. If you did not admit to driving you will not be convicted. If you did admit to driving, and most people who are arrested and questioned do, the police might be able to convict you. Operating the vehicle means being behind the wheel with the key in the ignition or driving the car, but they need a witness to say you drove and when you drove the vehicle. It could be a civilian witness or the police, but they have to prove you were intoxicated at the time you were operating the vehicle. You admission is enough even if the police did not see you operate the vehicle, and the bouncer can verify your statement. Call for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/25/2011
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