Do the Keys Need to Be in the Ignition to Get a DWI in Houston, Texas?

keys in ignition

When you’ve had much to drink, deciding to call a friend instead of drinking and driving is essential. However, instead of waiting in the cold or rain for someone to pick you up, you decide to sit in your car and wait. Next thing you know, a police officer is knocking on your window and charging you with a DWI despite the fact you never put the keys in the ignition. If charged with a DWI despite having no intent to drive, you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll learn how Houston DWI defense attorneys can help represent you in court.

Will I Face a DWI if My Keys Are Not in the Ignition?

You may think that sitting or sleeping in a car without the keys in the ignition can keep you free of criminal charges. However, this is unfortunately not true. In Texas, anyone who is thought to operate a car at any point while under the influence can face a DWI.

Even if your keys are not in the ignition, if an officer believes you had the intent to drive, such as holding your keys in your hand while sitting in the driver’s seat, they can charge you with a DWI under the assumption you tried to start the car before deciding against it. This is due to the vague language used to create the statute that outlaws driving while intoxicated, which means it is entirely up to interpretation.

How Do I Avoid DWI Charges?

The most obvious way to avoid facing a DWI is not to drink and drive; however, you weren’t doing that when charged, so what else can you do?

In general, it’s best to avoid sitting in your car when intoxicated. When possible, waiting inside the establishment or sitting in a friend’s car with a sober person can help you avoid a DWI charge. However, when this is not viable, there are steps you can take to help lessen the chances of facing a DWI. Sitting in the backseat with your keys outside your vehicle or in the trunk can demonstrate that you had no intention of driving your car.

Do I Need an Attorney?

If you were charged with a DWI because an officer believes there is circumstantial evidence of a DWI, you’ll want to ensure you contact an attorney as soon as possible. You only have 15 days after your arrest to request a hearing. Your lawyer will examine all of the evidence surrounding your arrest to determine whether or not the arrest was lawful or if there is evidence to prove that you did not have the intention to drive.

The Gonzalez Law Group has the experience necessary to represent you in a court of law. We will do everything we can to keep your record clean and free of DWI charges. Reach out today to discuss the details of your case with one of our seasoned attorneys.