I am pleased to announce that I am now affiliated with the Criminal Practice Group of Einhorn, Barbarito, Frost & Botwinick, P.C.

Totowa NJ DWI Defense Lawyer: Explaining Proof of Operation in DWI Cases

DWI and DUI Defense Attorney Serving Clients in Passaic County, New Jersey

If you’ve been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, you could lose your driver’s license. Worse yet, you could go to jail. Alissa D. Hascup is an aggressive DWI defense lawyer who is dedicated to criminal and DWI defense. Ms. Hascup has successfully defended countless clients charged with alcohol-related offenses, including first offense DWI, second offense DWI, and refusal to submit to a breath test in West Milford, Paterson, Little Falls, Totowa, and throughout Passaic County, New Jersey. Ms. Hascup is also a former DWI prosecutor who prosecuted DWI cases on a regular basis.

Contact Alissa Hascup today for a free consultation about your DWI case, and please continue reading this page to learn more about the standards for proof of operation of a motor vehicle in New Jersey DWI cases.

Elements of an NJ DWI Prosecution: Proof of Operation of Motor Vehicle

In order to sustain a DWI case, the prosecutor must prove the existence of probable cause for the traffic stop, proof of intoxication, and proof of operation of the motor vehicle. Many times, proof of operation is obvious because there is direct evidence of operation, such as when a police officer pulls over a vehicle and the driver is behind the wheel. However, other times, proof of operation is not so clear:

  • The car is in a parking lot and the driver is behind the wheel, but the car is not running.
  • The car is in a parking lot and the car is running, but the car is in park.
  • The car is in a parking lot and running, but the driver is sleeping, with the seat reclined.
  • The car is stopped on a highway and the driver is not behind the wheel.
  • The car is in a driveway and the car is running, but the driver is not behind the wheel.
  • The car has multiple passengers, each with a different version of who was driving.

When fighting against your DWI charge, Alissa Hascup will leave no stone unturned. One of the best defenses against the prosecution’s case can be to contest proof of operation of the motor vehicle.

In order to prove operation, the prosecution must establish that:

  • The driver controlled the car;
  • The driver intended to cause the car to move;
  • The driver took action to set the car in motion; and
  • The possibility for motion existed (not possible if the car was stuck in a ditch).

In 1973, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided the landmark proof of operation case, State v. Daly. Police officers had found the defendant intoxicated and sitting in the driver’s seat of his car, which was parked in a restaurant parking lot more than an hour after closing time. The car was running, with the defendant later claiming that he had started the engine so as to stay warm. The NJ Supreme Court held that, given these circumstances, the prosecution had failed to prove that the defendant was “operating” the car.

Contact a Passaic County NJ Driving under the Influence Lawyer Today

Proof of operation of a motor vehicle is always case-specific and fact-sensitive. An experienced DWI attorney can isolate important issues when attacking the prosecution’s case. If you’ve been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, call or email Alissa Hascup today. Ms. Hascup will review the evidence in your case and formulate an effective strategy to help you.

Contact Us

If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, you want a battle-tested, aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side. Alissa D. Hascup will protect your rights and your freedom. She is highly skilled and incredibly motivated and puts clients first – always.

Please contact Ms. Hascup’s office today to request a free initial consultation about your criminal charges. She will review the facts of your case, answer your questions, and explain how she can best defend you.

Ms. Hascup can be reached 24/7. For your convenience, she offers night and weekend appointments, as well as virtual appointments.

Courts We Serve

In Passaic County, including Paterson, Clifton, Wayne, Passaic, West Milford, Hawthorne, Little Falls, Pompton Lakes, Ringwood, Woodland Park, Wanaque, Totowa, North Haledon, Haledon, Bloomingdale, and Prospect Park, in Morris County, including Morristown, Parsippany, Denville, Randolph, Rockaway, Madison, Boonton, Dover, East Hanover, Montville, Lincoln Park, Pequannock, Butler, and Riverdale, in Essex County, including Newark, East Orange, West Orange, South Orange, Irvington, Bloomfield, Montclair, Belleville, Nutley, Maplewood, Millburn, Verona, Cedar Grove, West Caldwell, Glen Ridge, Fairfield, and Roseland.


999 Riverview Drive

Totowa, NJ 07512

165 East Main Street

Denville, NJ 07834