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You May Be Charged For Drunkenness Even If Your Vehicle Isn't In Motion

by Theresa Hoffman

You might be surprised that you can be arrested for a DUI even when you are not actually driving the vehicle. If you have pulled over your car by the side of the road and are waiting until you sober up enough to safely drive, a police officer might still choose to press charges. 

Physical Possession of the Vehicle

The police officer will want to determine if you actually have physical control of the car and will then ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test or a blood test. They will perform an arrest if your BAC is above the legal limit. If you were in a passenger seat and did not have the keys, the police officer would not consider you to be in control of the vehicle.

Besides a BAC, you might be charged with a DUI if you were under the influence of another substance or if the THC concentration in your system was above the legal limit. You might also be charged if you had both alcohol and THC in your system.

Penalties for Physical Control

The penalties you might face for simply having physical control of the vehicle might be less than if the vehicle was in motion or if you crash your vehicle. You may be charged with a misdemeanor. Generally, a misdemeanor will be a crime punishable by more than five days and less than a year of prison.

If you are accused of this crime, you will immediately want to contact a DUI attorney. Only this type of attorney will know how to beat these charges so you don't end up with a record and you don't face legal penalties. 

Factors That Influence Your Case

The police will take into consideration the location of the vehicle when you were contacted by them, the location of your car keys, and where you were located inside the car. If you were in an authorized parking space, for example, you would be less likely to be charged with control of a vehicle while intoxicated.

However, because laws vary depending on the state in which you reside, you will need a DUI lawyer who is licensed to practice in the state in which you were arrested. Your attorney will help you determine whether it makes more sense to accept a plea deal or whether you should fight to win your case and receive an acquittal.