Can anyone tell me where I can get a definition for the term "operating" (as in a motor vehicle)?
Because the term “operate” is not defined in the Penal Code, the Court of Appeals relied on the plain meaning of the word to answer the question presented. See, e.g. Howard v. State, 690 S.W.2d 252, 254 (Tex.Crim.App.1985). That Court, referring to Webster's Third New International Dictionary, chose to define “operate” as the “exertion of power or influence.” The Court of Appeals addressed the cases cited by Appellant in support of his definition of “operate” and found the facts of those cases distinguishable from the facts of this case. We agree with the Court of Appeals.
Denton v. State, 911 S.W.2d 388, 389 (Tex.Crim.App. 1995).
I like the Dallas court's application of Denton v. State in Freeman v. State:
"The court in Denton v. State, 911 S.W.2d 388 (Tex. Crim. App. 1995), held, "To find operation under [the DWI] standard, the totality of the circumstances must demonstrate that the defendant took action to affect the functioning of this vehicle in a manner that would enable the vehicle's use." Id. at 390. The Barton court rejected the contention that the driver's personal effort must cause the automobile to either move or not move. Barton, 882 S.W.2d at 459. Instead, the court looked to the totality of the circumstances to determine if the defendant exerted personal effort upon his vehicle in a manner that shows intentional use of the vehicle for the intended purpose.See id. The Denton court interpreted the meaning of "drive" and "operate," "While driving does involve operation, operation does not necessarily involve driving." See Denton, 911 S.W.2d at 389."
Freeman v. State, 69 S.W.3d 374, 376 (Tex. App.--Dallas 2002, no pet.)
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