Did you know a person can be convicted of drunk driving when the engine in the car he or she is in is not even running? Driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated are criminal charges described in Virginia Code § 18.2-266. These terms are a little misleading because the law prohibits operating a vehicle which includes more than just driving.

Under Virginia law, a person sitting behind the wheel of a car can be convicted of DUI even if the car isn’t running. In fact, if you drive a vehicle that uses a key fob to activate the car’s electrical system, you can be convicted if you merely sit behind the wheel of the car if the key fob in your hand has done its job and turned on the electrical system.

Many people have gone to sleep in their cars on a cold night with the heater running and this could also qualify for “operating” a vehicle. The safest thing to do is to call a cab or someone who can take you home. The penalties for DWI are high including loss of license, fines and even incarceration. Plan ahead if you are going to go out drinking.