dui arrest when I was not driving

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dui arrest when I was not driving

why was I charged with dui when I was not in my car. I was on the street and the keys to the car was still in my purse

Asked on May 5, 2009 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

In order to get a DUI, you must be driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. Driving is easy to understand, either your in motion or not.  Actual physical control of a motor vehicle applies when your vehicle is parked.  This can be if your just sitting in your car with engine running trying to stay warm until your ride comes.  It can be pulling of the road, shutting the car off but leaving the keys in the ignition.  I have heard of prosecutors claiming actual physical control when the engine was off, keys were out of the ignition on the passenger seat.

DUI prosecutions arise even when the person is not in their car when police arrive. A common scenario I have seen is people crashing or leaving their cars then, later after police arrive, admitting to police they were driving. In many cases like this, the police did not have probable cause to make a DUI arrest until the suspect opened their mouth and admitted they had been driving.  It is surprising how many people incriminate themselves this way.

Since I don't have more facts it's hard to say more definitively.  However, the fact that this is a criminal matter means that you should most definitely be represented by counsel in your area.  Remember, this will affect both your driving and criminal record.  My advice is to retain an attorney, preferably one that specializes in DUI cases.


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