A couple was arrested in New Jersey this week for two separate instances of drunk driving, each within six hours of each other according to a report from USA Today’s Daily Record. The boyfriend was the first to be arrested after a police officer responded to a call about a vehicle left on the side of the highway with its engine running, blinker on and keys in the ignition. After a lack of cooperation on the boyfriend’s part and a declined Alcotest (New Jersey’s breathalyzer program), he was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, refusing a breath test, open container, consumption of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle, reckless driving, failure to exhibit registration, and disorderly conduct. He was then taken to jail to wait in a holding cell until someone could pick him up.
When his girlfriend arrived to do just that, officers noticed the smell of alcohol on her breath. She admitted to drinking earlier in the day, and upon taking the field sobriety test and an Alcotest exam, was discovered to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .28%—well over the legal limit of .08%. She was then charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) and joined her boyfriend to wait for a family member to retrieve her from the police station.
The girlfriend’s arrest raises all sorts of questions about D.C. DUI law—like when and how a police officer can charge you with a DWI or DUI. Based on the article alone, the girlfriend wasn’t even driving the vehicle when she spoke with the officers. How could she have been arrested? After all, driving under the influence requires that the person was driving not just that they were under the influence.