I was charged with a DUI even though I wasnot observed driving.

Will my DUI charge stick if I was never actually observed driving? I was not even in the vehicle. Should I speak with a DUI attorney? In Sussex County, DE.

Asked on August 31, 2011 Delaware

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes you can be arrested for a DUI even if you are not actually behind the wheel and driving at the time or, as in your case even in the vehicle. It all depends on the surrounding circumstances. Under the law, the police do not have to actually observe you behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.  Legally all that is needed is evidence of driving. For example, it you were pulled off on the side of the road and standing next to the car or you were near the car in the middle of a parking lot and had the keys in your possession. Any reasonable proof that you had been driving just prior to be stopped by the police. This would be legally sufficient to demonstrate that you exerted control over the vehicle. Unfortunately, you did not provide any details as to your particular case. Additionally, I don't know what, if anything, tests were administered at the scene (breathalyzer, blood, field sobriety) would further legally establish that at the time not control was exerted over the car you were "under the influence" (legally intoxicated).

That having been said, this does not mean that there aren't legal grounds on which to fight the charge.  Defenses can be enlisted which could result in getting the charge reduced or dismissed outright.  At this point you need to consult with an attorney that handles drunk driving cases. Since a DUI triggers both civil and criminal cases, you really should have legal representation. You could not only be left with a criminal record but lose your driver's license as well, not to mention and increase in your insurance rates and possibly even the loss of employment and eligibility for professional licenses, etc.


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