How Could You Get a DUI When You Weren’t Driving a Vehicle?
You’re out at a bar and you’ve consumed too much alcohol. You thought you were going to have one beer and drive home, but now you can’t risk drinking and driving. You decide to curl up in the driver’s seat of your car and wait for sobriety to set in. Seems like a sure way to avoid DUI charges, right? Not necessarily.
The fact that you were not actually driving your vehicle is a strong defense to DUI charges, but in order to use this defense, certain facts must be true. This is because there are ways that you could be charged with DUI even if you weren’t performing the physical act of driving when contacted by police.
Non-Moving Violations and DUI
Many people think that because they weren’t performing the act of driving a vehicle, they cannot be charged with DUI. How could police even pull you over if you were not driving? Well, there are some non-moving violations that could cause officers to approach your vehicle. These non-moving violations include being illegally parked, having a broken taillight, and having illegally tinted windows.
So what do these violations have to do with DUI? Once police officers have a lawful reason to approach your vehicle, they may observe signs of intoxication. If you are slurring your words, your breath smells like alcohol, or you display any other signs of intoxication, this could lead to DUI charges. But don’t you have to be driving a vehicle to get a DUI?
DUI and the Physical Act of Driving
In order to be convicted of DUI in California, prosecutors must show that you were in control of a vehicle. This does not mean that the officer has to actually see you driving the car. California Vehicle Code Section 305 defines driving as being in actual physical control of the vehicle. Proving you were in actual control can be done using circumstantial evidence.1
Say for example that you go to your car to “sleep it off.” You put your keys in the ignition and start the car so that you can turn on the heater. Then, you fall asleep. An officer approaches the car and you exhibit signs of intoxication. You are placed under arrest for DUI.
The fact that your keys are in the ignition and the engine is running can be used as evidence to prove you were in actual control of the car, or driving as defined by California law. You will need an experienced DUI attorney to help you show that this is not true and you were not in physical control of the car.
Call the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you have been arrested for DUI, you need to contact a skilled DUI defense attorney immediately. There are a number of valid arguments that an attorney can make on your behalf to defend you against these charges. At Wallin & Klarich, we have been successfully defending our clients against DUI charges for over 40 years. We can help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney can help no matter your location.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.