If you get a DWI and total your car, YOU are entitled to the insurance proceeds, NOT the forfeiting agency. The Court of Appeals recently affirmed the district court decision that only the property rights in the vehicle are subject to forfeiture. Insurance proceeds are payments due under an insurance contract about a vehicle and are not a property interest in the vehicle. Russell Eldon Briles v. 2013 GMC Terrain, ___ N.W.2d ___, A16-0768, 2018 WL 845974 (Minn. 2/14/2018)
Do you have to be driving to get a DWI? No, you do not.
A DWI includes driving or “operating” a motor vehicle. “Operating” a motor vehicle includes being “in physical control” of the vehicle. The courts have held that “physical control” of the vehicle includes sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys within arm’s reach. State v. Fleck. As recently affirmed by the Minnesota Supreme Court, it also includes grabbing the steering wheel while someone else is driving. State v. Tchad Hu Henderson. In fact, in the case where a woman was standing on the side of the road with a flat tire, the car was running and the keys were in the ignition, the Minnesota Court of Appeals found that physical control was present. State v. Woodward.