Ohio Supreme Court overturns woman’s ticket for sleeping in driver’s seat while license suspended
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Supreme Court of Ohio reversed an OVI conviction for a woman found sleeping in the driver’s seat to stay warm.
In February 2018, Katherine Wilson and three friends were up late partying at a friend’s home. The friend’s parent threw them out of the house, according to Court News Ohio.
The four then decided to sleep in the car parked near the house.
A neighbor called the police after spotting the running car on the street in the early morning.
Wilson, whose license was suspended for an OVI conviction, was in the driver’s seat. Because it was cold, she had turned on the car and the heater.
The police officer responding to the call found the four asleep.
There was no indication that Wilson had moved the car, which turned out to be a key factor in the court’s decision to overturn the conviction.
Wilson was cited for driving under an OVI suspension. She was found guilty and sentenced to three days in jail and fined $250.
She appealed the conviction.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled 4-3 that in order to be guilty of driving under suspension for OVI, one must actually move the vehicle, according to Court News Ohio.
Justice Patrick Fischer said the failure to spell out the meaning in this particular section of the law was probably an oversight.
Justice Patrick DeWine and Justice Sharon Kennedy reasoned in a dissent that lawmakers used the word operate, not drive and an ordinary meaning of operate would be to engage the engine but not necessarily move the car.
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