Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

My New Law Suggestion

Apparently there were fireworks on my street this morning, as a man and a woman, both drunk, pulled their car over outside my house and started yelling at each other. I, of course, slept through all of this. The arguing got so loud, several neighborhood families called the cops.

From my neighbors\’ accounts, the police showed up, and weren\’t able to charge either of the individuals with drunk driving – even though both were belligerently drunk and they had clearly just pulled up. Apparently, since the police couldn\’t determine who was driving, they couldn\’t charge either of them with driving under the influence, instead charging them with disturbing the peace.

This seems a little odd to me – people are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving all the time, as in cases when someone causes an accident and drives off. I haven\’t checked the state statutes, but is there really nothing they could have been charged with? Couldn\’t there be a law that applies equal blame to two drunkards in the same car if it can\’t be determined who was actually driving?

This seems like a no-brainer law. So all the Capitol people that read this blog – get to it. Does this mean I have to register with the state ethics board if I lobby for my new law?

Oh, and if the fine young lady in the car feels like coming to pick up the shoes she threw at her companion, they\’re still here on the curb:



  1. Bruce Dierbeck

    May 28, 2007 at 12:59 am

    Your quest for Drunken Cinderella … it sounds like it could be a new summer series on Spike. Perhaps starring Lindsey Lohan?

    I agree with you that it seems strange they couldn’t charge either with drunk driving. Speaking of Lohan, didn’t she just get tagged with DUI even though she left the scene of the crime and therefore was never actually behind the wheel when the cops ultimately caught up with her?

    Scary to think that if Lohan was hanging in Madison at the time, there’s a good chance she’d have gotten away with nothing more than a disturbing the peace.

  2. Umnnnnnnhhhh…


  3. Mr. Pelican Pants

    May 28, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    You can’t charge someone for operating while intoxicated, because…well, they were not operating anything. Certainly, for public intoxication and/or disturbing the peace, but the po-po can’t charge them for DUI because they did not witness it.

  4. Christian Schneider

    May 28, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Actually, Mr. Pelican, that’s not exactly right. A person can be arrested if they’re suspected of driving drunk, even if the cops never saw it. Here are a couple Wisconsin court cases that back this up:

    Evidence that the defendant, found asleep in parked car, had driven to the parking place 14 minutes earlier, was sufficient to support a conviction for operating a car while intoxicated. Monroe County v. Kruse, 76 Wis. 2d 126, 250 N.W.2d 375 (1977).

    Intent to drive or move a motor vehicle is not required to find an accused guilty of operating the vehicle while under influence of intoxicant. Milwaukee County v. Proegler, 95 Wis. 2d 614, 291 N.W.2d 608 (Ct. App. 1980).

    Immobility of a vehicle does not preclude a finding that the vehicle was being operated. Movement is not necessary for operation. State v. Modory, 204 Wis. 2d 538, 555 N.W.2d 399 (Ct. App. 1996), 96-0241.

  5. What size are those shoes? It’d be a pity to have them go to waste… 😉

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