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But I Wasn’t Driving

AccidentWitness

A common misconception is that you can’t get arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if you aren’t driving, which would make sense because driving is literally in the title of the offense. However, you don’t need to be driving a vehicle to be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), let alone arrested for DUI. Driving under the influence requires that the State be able to prove a person was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle. Which gives the State two options, one is showing that a person was driving the vehicle. While the other is showing that a person was in actual physical control of a vehicle, but what does that mean?  Actual physical control means that a person must be physically in or on the vehicle and have the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of they are driving the vehicle at the time. This allows for an officer to make an arrest or the State to argue that a person is guilty of driving under the influence and that person just be sitting behind the steering wheel of their vehicle. The opens the door for the possibility that a person with no intent to drive be arrested and prosecuted for driving under the influence while they sleep it off in the car in a parking lot or wait in the car for an uber. Just because you don’t put the car in drive is not a defense to DUI. Actual physical control allows for a person to be prosecuted for DUI without the vehicle even running. All that is needed is that a person have the capability to operate the vehicle, so if the keys are close by, in the ignition, the vehicle is running but in park all give the state an argument to a jury to prove that a person is guilty of driving under the influence. So don’t fall into the mistaken belief that you will be safe if you don’t put the car in drive, or leave the parking lot, or don’t start the car. Keep in mind that cops keep a watchful eye on the parking lot of establishments that serve alcohol and are very aware that all they need is a person in actual physical control of a vehicle to make a possible arrest for DUI. On the bright side is there are defenses not only to the offense of driving under the influence but specifically to actual physical control, for instance the defense of inoperability. If you have been arrested for a DUI it is important to know your options and the potential defenses you may have in your specific case, at Meldon Law we have the knowledge and experience to assist you in every aspect of your DUI case. The attorneys at Meldon Law, know the rights you have and are dedicated to defending them and defending you if you have been charged with a DUI call us at 352-373-8000 for a free consultation.

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