Parked Car DUI

Although many drivers may not realize this until it’s too late, intoxicated drivers may be arrested on DUI charges even if they aren’t actually driving their vehicle. Commonly known as a parked car DUI, police officers may arrest drunk drivers for indicating their intention to drive their car while intoxicated. DUI arrests are made according to a legal principle known as physical control, in which a driver may be considered, for legal purposes, violating DUI laws even if they aren’t actually operating the vehicle. As long as they’re in physical control of the vehicle while intoxicated, they may be arrested.

What Are The Limits of Physical Control?

According to the law, DUI arrests may be made at any point in which a driver is both intoxicated and has physical control over the vehicle. For the intents of the law, physical control may be extended to include drivers sleeping in the back seat, resting on the hood or trunk of the car’s exterior, or waiting inside a parked vehicle without the immediate intention to drive. There are only a few instances in which a driver may be inside or on their vehicle while intoxicated and manage to give up physical control. Even in these instances, the court may dispute a defendant’s claims.

In some cases, drivers may avoid DUI allegations by storing their keys in an inaccessible compartment while they’re inside the vehicle. For example, a driver asleep in the back seat with their keys in the glove compartment may have sufficiently separated themselves from their means of controlling the vehicle to convince the court that they weren’t in physical control. Similarly, putting keys in the trunk may be enough to clearly show that the driver didn’t have physical control.

If a person gives their keys to someone else, such as a friend, who isn’t in the car while the intoxicated driver is, that driver may have also given up physical control. Without any means to actually operate the vehicle, a driver can’t physically control it.

How Can a Driver Dispute a Parked Car DUI?

Drivers charged with DUIs while their vehicles are parked may have a few important defense options. If they want to fight these charges, they may be able to cite a significant separation between themselves and their keys. As described before, if a driver doesn’t have immediate access to their keys, they may not be considered in physical control of the vehicle, and aren’t breaking DUI laws as a result. A DUI lawyer may be able to help argue this defense.

If a driver wants to consider a plea bargain, a parked car DUI may be considered significantly less serious as an offense. This means that some prosecutors may be much more willing to reduce charges with an admission of guilt. Working with a DUI attorney, a defendant may be able to argue for a substantial reduction of major penalties and may even be able retain their license.

In any scenario, a defendant may want to think carefully about working with a DUI lawyer for their defense case. Parked car DUIs are still the same powerful criminal allegations as DUIs on the road, and may come with extremely detrimental penalties if a defendant is convicted.

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2 comments

  1. How easy is it to dispute a parked car DUI? I know a friend who got one and they don’t know what to do.

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