Question: Can You Explain What Actual Physical Control Means in Wisconsin?
Answer: In Wisconsin, we don't actually call it “actual physical control.” The issue is whether or not a person is operating a motor vehicle. Now, that can be either on a highway or upon premises held open to the public. And operation in Wisconsin does not mean you have to just be driving your car on the road; you can be sitting in your vehicle with the ignition on and still be charged because the issue is whether or not you have actually manipulated any of the controls in the vehicle. We, in this firm, did have a recent appeal of a trial court decision where a person was found guilty of operation for sitting in a running vehicle in a bar parking lot. I was able to get a reversal on that because the city was not able to prove exactly when the controls were manipulated and if they were manipulated by my client. So there are defenses in those situations.