The Virginia Supreme Court has held that a defendant who was drunk with the radio on and ignition off was "operating" for purposes of Virginia Code § 18.2-266. Click to read the entire decision in Nelson v. Commonwealth.

As legal commentator Steven Emmert points out in his "Virginia Appellate News & Analysis" blog:
"Judging from the cases cited today, in all of the Supreme Court’s prior decisions affirming convictions, either the car was moving or the engine was running.  This is, as far as I know, the first time in our Commonwealth’s history when the Supreme Court has affirmed a conviction of DUI when the engine has been turned off."

Dissenting Justice Koontz dissented citing earlier dissents by previous justices stating that the defendant was being convicted of "occupying" and not "operating" a vehicle while under the influence.

Bob Battle
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