How can I be DUI if I was not driving?
I have met with numerous clients following a DUI arrest and many of them ask this very question. While ‘sleeping it off’ may seem like the responsible thing to do following a night of drinking, you can still be arrested and prosecuted for DUI. I know, that seems counterintuitive but the reason is that the prosecutor can prove you are DUI either by proving you are driving OR in Actual Physical Control of a vehicle.
Being in actual physical control of a vehicle means you are physically in or on the vehicle and have the ability to drive or move the vehicle, regardless of whether you are actually operating the vehicle at the time.
Many DUI arrests occur because the accused was doing the right thing by not driving, but rather deciding to “sleep it off” outside of the establishment in which they consumed alcohol. It also may not matter whether you were in the driver’s seat, passenger side, backseat or anywhere else in the passenger compartment of your car. In addition, where the keys are may not make all that much of a difference either. DUI arrests occur when someone is asleep behind the wheel, or anywhere in, on or around their car regardless of whether the engine is running, the keys are outside the vehicle and the gear shift is in park.
There are many legal issues when a DUI investigation and arrest starts with actual physical control rather than a driving pattern observed by the police officer who initiates a traffic stop. An experienced DUI defense lawyer will be able to analyze the facts surrounding your case to determine what defenses can be raised and what motions may be filed.
For example, depending on where you were parked when found sleeping behind the wheel, it may have been improper for police to approach your vehicle in the first place. When someone is legally parked and there is insufficient evidence of an emergency it may be improper for police to approach your vehicle in an attempt to make contact with you in the first place as it is not evident that criminal activity was taking place and no driving pattern was observed by the police officer.
Do You Need A Miami DUI Defense Laywer?
If you find yourself charged with DUI in Miami you need to speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Please contact me online or call my Coral Gables office directly at 305.707.7345. You should also download my free book "A Six Pack Of Questions That Can Cause A Hangover After A DUI Arrest". This free download provides valuable information and answers to questions about DUI charges that can give you the best chance at winning your case.
You may also fill out my DUI Intake Form.