Driving under the influence, also known as DUI, is a criminal offence that cuts across all parts of society. Driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances is a bad idea in any part of the globe, mainly because of the potential of causing harm or death to yourself and others.
This is especially so in Arizona, a state boasting arguably the toughest DUI laws in the United States. One of the most common questions I receive is if it is possible to get a DUI when you aren’t driving. In this article, I will try to answer this question and provide other handy info on the state’s DUI laws.
The short answer to this question is “Yes”, you can still get a DUI offence even when you are not driving. This is made possible by the clause in DUI law known as “actual physical control”. This part of the law states that, if you are in actual physical control of a vehicle, even when you are NOT driving it, you can be charged with, and possibly convicted for, a DUI.
Whether the person is in “actual physical control” or is driving, Arizona’s severe penalties are the same. It is still a major inconvenience that has affected many people based on our experience in handling these cases.
So how does “actual physical control” come into play? Actual physical control can be invoked when your car is running, regardless of which seat you are in at the time of the apprehension. You can also be considered to have physical control of the vehicle even when the engine is turned off. If the car keys are slotted in the ignition (even when the car is not running) and/or you are sitting at the driver’s seat, you can be charged with a DUI as well. Also, being at the driver’s seat and having possession of the keys (ex.: in your pocket) can also be grounds to suggest you had physical control of a motor vehicle.
There are other situations surrounding your arrest that can further increase your chance of being given a DUI charge, even when you are not driving. If your car is parked at an inappropriate spot, like in the middle of the road, you are more likely than not going to be assumed to have parked it while inebriated.
If your car is obstructing someone’s private property or your presence is preventing another car from moving, you’re more likely to be flagged for a DUI. The worst thing is getting involved in an accident, even when your car is not moving.
You cannot be charged with a DUI if you do not have alcohol or other illicit substances in your system. A DUI in Arizona is filed if you are in actual physical control or in the operation of a motor vehicle and (1) impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol or drugs, (2) have a blood alcohol concentration is measured at .08% BAC and above, or (3) have any illicit drugs in your system. So, how can you avoid incurring a DUI offence? Make sure to not drive with alcohol or drugs in your system. For everything else, it would be best to know your rights as a defendant.
You can be indicted with a DUI if you are in possession of a motor vehicle and intoxicated. However, it must be ascertained first that you are indeed driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle and that you are acting inappropriately on the road.
So, there you have it. Even if the terms may sound counter-intuitive, it is indeed possible that you can be charged with a DUI when you are not driving. If you are dealing with a DUI case and/or have been implicated in one, then you need legal help to protect your rights and keep your criminal record clean.
The help of a criminal lawyer will prove valuable in such situations. You can get the legal help you need right here at Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law. With over 30 years of experience in criminal law, Attorney Dodell knows how to defend DUI cases in Tempe.
If you want to know more about the services of Robert A. Dodell or you want to set up an appointment, you can visit the office at 10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103, Scottsdale, AZ. You can also call me at (480) 860-4321 or send an email to Robert@AZcrimlaw.com.