The Butler Law Firm in Houston, Texas, recently spoke about the legal aspects of being charged with a DWI while in a self-driven vehicle. Jim Butler, owner of the firm, states that there have been many changes over the years in the automobile industry, which raises an interesting question about what happens if and when a citizen receives a DWI in Texas while in an automatically driven car like the Tesla.
"We've been asked repeatedly if in Texas, motorists could be charged with DWI if they were intoxicated, and sitting behind the control panel, or pod, or whatever of an autonomous self-driving car," says Attorney Jim Butler.
The law firm explains that in Texas, to be guilty of DWI, the state has to prove that the individual actually operated the motor vehicle in question. He states that the confusion stems from the definition of what it means to operate a motor vehicle and that often, a Houston Texas DWI lawyer is needed in order to unravel the legal implications of what that term really means.
"Believe it or not, that word isn't defined by the Texas DWI statute," says Butler. "Case law has interpreted operating as taking some action to effect the operation of the motor vehicle. As one appellate judge famously wrote; 'driving necessarily requires operating, but operating doesn't necessarily require driving'."
Butler points out that Ford is expected to release autonomous ride share cars within the next four years. He states that it can be difficult for those operating these vehicles to know how to proceed if and when they are ever arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, since technically they are not driving the vehicle but merely riding in it.
Butler states that if and when this happens, the firm can go to work for those charged, ensuring that their rights are upheld while going through the process of threshing out the legal definition of the term "operating a motor vehicle". The DWI Attorney Houston Texas residents can go to has made it one of his personal projects to stay at the forefront of self-driving vehicles and the laws regarding those vehicles and drinking and driving. Those interested in learning more about this and other legal services provided by the firm can visit them online.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
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