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Driving Under The Influence: Can You Face Arrest If You Don't Drive?

by Maurice Moore

When you drink, you probably already know you should never drive. What you might not know is that you should not even sit in your car behind the wheel when you have alcohol in your system. You cannot just sit stationary in the driver's seat, even to wait on a ride from someone else. Doing so can result in a DUI whether you are driving or not. The following are some things you should know if you are ever in this position:

Why Can't You Sit in Your Car?

In many states, you do not have to be physically driving while under the influence to get charged with a DUI. This is legally known as actual physical control of the vehicle, which means that because you are in the driver's seat, you have the capability of starting the engine and drive at any time.

How Is Actual Physical Control Proven?

Based on the state law, you have to meet certain factors to be arrested for a DUI in a non-moving vehicle. One factor is the fact that you are sitting in the driver's seat. Other components of the rule include whether or not the key is in the ignition, whether or not the vehicle is on, or whether or not the radio and air conditioner is running.

How Can You Be Arrested for a DUI?

If you are in your car in the driver's seat, law enforcement officers may approach you and ask questions. If the officer suspects you have been drinking, you may be asked to take breathalyzer or field sobriety test. Upon failure of these tests, the officer may place you under arrest if you meet the factors of actual physical control.

The basis for an arrest of this nature is the officer can deduce that you have the ability to drive the vehicle in your intoxicated state. Your experience may vary based on state laws and your certain circumstances. The bottom line, however, is that you can be arrested for a DUI if the officer has reason to believe you could have started your car and driven away at any time.

Is This a Fair DUI Charge?

While it may not seem like a fair arrest, under the law you are subject to arrest because you cannot be in a driving position in your car in any way, shape, or form when you have been drinking. If you are arrested for this reason, be sure to contact your attorney to ensure this is a fair arrest in your state.

For more information, speak with a DUI attorney.