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Drunk and in charge of a vehicle??
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Drunk and in charge of a vehicle??

I sit at home one night.. have a can of beer or two, enough to put me over the limit anyway. I go out to my car to grab a CD with the intention of bringing it inside I can mellow out to the music. If I was to be pulled by the police during that time and breathalised, can I be done for the above question?? Please base your answers around the idea that I'm being honest, this has not happened to me but has happened to one of my friends.

David W
It happened to an acquaintance of mine some years ago. He ended up losing his licence. I didn't believe his story and nor, apparently, did the police.

The elements of the offence are simply; 1.In charge of a m/v 2. On a road or public place 3. Alcohol in breath, blood, urine exceeds limit The case-law that sets out whether a person is in charge is R v Watkins(1989). It is for the defendant to show that they were no longer in charge of it or and there was no likelihood of resuming control at the relevant time (while drunk). The courts should consider; 1. Whether defendant had keys 2. Where defendant was in relation to the vehicle 3. What evidence there is of defendants intention to take control of the vehicle. My experience tells me that simply going out to collect a CD would not amount to being drunk in charge because you have no intention to take control of the vehicle. If you put the keys in the ignition, or attempted to start the vehicle then this may be a different proposition.

There are two offences. You can be banned if you are caught while, or the police can demonstrate, intention to drive. Drunk in charge can be if you were in the passenger seat drunk and the driver got out to get something from a shop. xxFJ

Jelly B
You can sleep in your car drunk, without your keys, it's ok, but if your key's anywhere near you, you are drunk in charge. No key, no proof of drink drive or drunk in charge. (I believe).

It happened to a friend of mine aswell.Apparently if the keys r in the ignition then they can do u.Since my friend was listening to the radio & had the ignition on so the radio would work(although the car wasnt started) they did him for drunk in charge of a vehicle.As the keys were in the ignition it shows intention i think also its not motorised & capable of being driven until the keys r in the ignition so once u put the keys in even if u dont start it & just listen to the radio they can do u,the charge being as u said,drunk in charge of a vehicle becoz the potential is there to cause damage as ur drunk.Maybe they think like if u let the handbrake of or that once the keys r in its capable of being driven whereas without the keys in u cant drive it so ur not in charge of a motorised vehicle but once the keys r in it has the potential to be driven & as ur drunk u shouldnt b responsible/in charge of it.So i think u can b done.Hope trhis info helps

Hamish is near enough spot on with his answer, as long as you,re in the UK. You CAN be charged with being drunk in charge of a vehicle just by having the keys in your pocket whilst over the legal limit. Going in the passenger door makes NO difference. In the eyes of the law - If you have the means to drive the vehicle then you,re in charge of it. If your drunk then you,re drunk in charge of a motor vehicle. Its that simple.

That sounds strange... getting pulled over in a car that's parked that the person got into the get a CD out of? That's nuts. I'd fight that one. Of course, if the person in question is underage.....

Nanny Ogg
Surely the Police would have to prove that you were driving? If the car was parked on a driveway and not on the road how can you be accused of anything.

Sorry, but as far as I'm concerned anyone who goes near a car with a drink in them must be deemed to have the intention of driving. Your friend may well have had an innocent intention and if this is the case I'm sorry if they got in trouble over it but can you imagine the number of numpties who have went out to their car fully intending to drive but have been stopped by the police and come out with some lame excuse that they were only going to retrieve a CD, cigarettes, wallet blah blah blah!

Peter J
While the car keys are in your posession you are regarded as being in charge of the car. My son stupidly,after a row with his wife, sat in the passenger seat and had a drink whilst in a car park. He decided to listen to some music which entailed putting the key in the ignition(from the passenger seat) as he did so a police officer who had been watching him arrested him for being drunk while in charge of a vehicle. He got £200 fine and lost his licence for 16 months.

No 9/11 conspiracy
No, because you weren't driving.

That would depend on state law. In Wisconsin, you can be arrested if you are on property open to the public, and you are in control of the speed and/or direction of the vehicle. I'd like to think most officers would use discretion in your example. Especially if the vehicle is parked in front of your residence.

Legally, I'm afraid it can happen.

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