As explained in a recent Los Angeles Times article, the driver fell asleep while placing his order early one Friday morning. After the drive-thru attendant woke the driver up, he pulled his car into a parking spot to wait for his order there. Not long after the driver parked his car, a police officer who had been dining inside the restaurant, noticed him sleeping. The driver explained to the officer that he was just waiting on the food he’d ordered, but the officer knew something the man did not—he had actually never ordered his food. Suspecting the driver may be under the influence, the officer asked him to take a roadside breath test but he refused. However, the man was eventually charged with DUI after failing a field sobriety test.
This news article demonstrates the confusing nature of what it means to “operate” a motor vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence. Employing the general standards of common sense, one would think the driver wasn’t in control of his vehicle in this situation because the car was parked and the driver was asleep. In the District of Columbia, however, common sense does not prevail.