Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol can lead to serious consequences. This includes hefty fines, license suspensions, and even jail time. Still, you do not actually have to be driving a motor vehicle to face this charge. The definition of operating a vehicle is broader than the definition of driving. Understanding this definition can help you avoid this charge.
The definition of “operation” in regards to motor vehicles can vary from state to state. In the state of Connecticut, “operation” refers to certain actions. This includes any action that intentionally could set the motor power of the vehicle in motion. This can refer to doing something as simple as putting your car key in the ignition. Also, it might include starting the engine with a remote.
Using any mechanical or electrical agency that could start the vehicle constitutes operating the vehicle. This is an extremely broad definition. You do not actually need to have the intent to start the engine of the car. Sitting in the car and putting a key in the ignition constitutes operating the vehicle. As a result, if intoxicated and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, you could face fines and a license suspension. While operating under the influence differs from driving under the influence, you could still face charges and go to court.
What if You Operate Under Suspension?
In the state of Connecticut, it is illegal to drive with a suspended license. It is never a good idea to get behind the wheel if your license has been suspended for any reason. If you are caught driving with a suspended license, you face the following penalties for a first offense:
- A jail sentence of up to three months.
- A fine of $150-200.
If you have a second or third offense, the penalties will be higher. Penalties for subsequent offense include longer jail sentences, higher fines, and more difficulty getting your license back.
Your license will be confiscated as soon as you are charged with a DUI. You will then have to undergo a court hearing and a DMV hearing. You must win both hearings in order to get your license back. However, if you are considered guilty of a DUI, your license will continue to be suspended for the allotted time. You can get your license back once the suspension is over by applying to the DMV. However, you will not be able to legally drive until both the suspension is over and you have gotten approval from the DMV.
If charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, you will want to find a lawyer who specializes in cases similar to your own. The experience that these lawyers have will help you with your case. They can make sure that you are being charged with the correct crime, and not driving under the influence if you could only technically be charged with operating under the influence. It is best not to get into a car at all if you have been drinking, because even if you aren’t driving or if you have no intention to drive, you can still be charged with operating a vehicle under the influence.
In addition, you face penalties for operating under suspension. To discuss your case, you can contact an attorney.