DUI in the Driveway: Supreme Court of Virginia affirms DUI conviction involving parked vehicle on private property

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

Based on the acronyms “DUI” and “DWI,” it’s easy to understand why most people think that you must be
“driving” to be convicted of Driving While Intoxicated in Virginia (a violation of Virginia Code §
18.2-266). In fact, it is a violation of law to “drive or operate” a motor vehicle while
intoxicated. “Operating a motor vehicle” has a much broader definition that “driving” and does not
require that your vehicle be on a public highway or even on public property. In fact, as the Supreme
Court of Virginia recently held in Sarafin v. Commonwealth, 764 S.E.2d 71 (decided October 31, 2014),
you can even “operate” a motor vehicle while sitting in your driveway with the engine off.
The Court’s opinion is available here: http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1131747.pdf

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