We all know that it’s never smart to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you’ve been drinking over the legal limit. But what about when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn’t running, with no keys in the ignition? Short answer: it's still not a good idea.
As reported by the Wairarapa Times-Age, New Zealander Harris James Davis was throwing a house party and ran into some vehicular problems. A car, belonging to a guest that left with the keys, was blocking the driveway. Davis was over the legal alcohol limit to drive, but with the help of two other guys pushing the car, steered the vehicle two to three meters away. Police apparently saw this and cited Davis, who eventually pleaded guilty.
In Masterton District Court, defense attorney James Elliot said, "The keys were not in the vehicle ... it is a question of whether he was driving or not." Prosecutor Sergeant Nick Newbery felt the case was clear and argued, "He was exercising control over the vehicle. He was steering it."
In the end, Judge Ian Mill issued a sentence saying, "The driver was only steering the vehicle being pushed by the lads." Despite the special circumstances, Davis was fined NZ$500 plus NZ$130 court costs and disqualified from driving (drivers license must be surrendered to authorities) for three months.