Most of us associate DUI charges with the action of driving a car under the influence of alcohol, but it’s actually possible to be charged with a DUI while sitting in a parked car. Few people realize this, and many unsuspecting adults have been arrested for something they didn’t know was a crime.
This means that even the simple act of sitting in your car after a night at the bar has the potential to lead to a criminal charge and rest. Here’s what you should know about this little-known part of the law so you don’t become victim of it yourself.
What Do Your State Laws Say?
Laws differ from state to state. Some states like Florida have specific statutes in place to define the circumstances of DUI in a stationary car, while other states leave it to relevant case law to determine guilt.
As a Florida resident or visitor, you can be charged with a DUI even while sitting in a parked car. This is because Florida law defines a driver as “any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.” The last portion of that statement allows prosecutors to charge you with a DUI even if your vehicle isn’t actively moving.
How Prosecutors Argue For Parked Car DUIs
If you’re being charged with a DUI in a parked car, your opposition will try to use circumstantial evidence to have you convicted and sentenced. Be prepared for these three common arguments against you:
- Driving-in-fact: Was the parking brake off? Was the car in gear? Were the keys in the ignition? If prosecutors can prove “yes” to any of those questions, they can claim you were in “actual physical control” of your vehicle, which leaves you vulnerable to a DUI conviction.
- Attempted DUI: The prosecutor may try to present evidence that you attempted to drive under the influence, even if you weren’t successful.
- Signs of Driving: A warm engine, open doors, or other circumstantial evidence can also be used to prove you were driving under the influence, even if you are found in a parked vehicle.
Parked car DUI cases are tricky, so it’s essential that you ask a Catania and Catania attorney to stand in your corner. With the right legal defense, you can be cleared of your charge and permitted to move on with your life.