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Drunk Driving Parameters

(credit:  Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - What do the police need to prove to arrest you for drunk driving? You’d be surprised.

A man in Attelboro, Massachusetts, found asleep in his car last month, was arrested for drunk driving after briefly waking, waving to police, then falling back to sleep where he was parked – in the middle of Second Avenue. Friendly chap.

Here’s the thing though. When cops found him, he wasn’t driving. Most people reasonably believe that in order to be arrested for drunk driving, you have to be drunk and you have to be driving. In fact, neither is the case. In order to arrest you, an officer only need show that you are impaired by drugs or alcohol – if you cannot pass a field sobriety test, you can be arrested even without proof your blood alcohol level was above the legal limit so long as you are impaired. And you don’t need to be driving – just in control of a motor vehicle.

So if you have the keys in the ignition but the car is in park, you can still be arrested even if you weren’t driving when the cops came. And it makes sense: you are simply more of a threat to the public when you are drunk and in control of a car – so curl up in the back of a cab rather than the middle of an intersection.

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