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Can you get a DUI in a parked car?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2022 | DUI

Alaska has strict laws when it comes to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Unfortunately, many people misunderstand what constitutes operating a motor vehicle, and this can lead to a DUI arrest even when you never intended to drive.

Circumstances leading to DUI arrest in a parked car

Perhaps you have just left a bar and are sitting in your warm car waiting for a sober ride, or perhaps it is late at night and you have decided to stay put and sleep it off in your vehicle. In either case, your intention is to do the right thing and avoid drunk driving.

However, if a police officer comes across the scene, the officer may find probable cause to arrest you for DUI, even if the vehicle is parked.

Evidence of driving or intent to drive

In Alaska, you can face a DUI charge simply for being in your car while intoxicated, especially if any of the following are true:

  • The keys are in the ignition or in your hand
  • The car is running
  • The lights are on
  • You are in the driver’s seat

The prosecutor may use these factors to argue that you had been driving or intended to drive, even if the car was parked when the police arrived. If convicted, you could face strict mandatory minimum penalties for an offense you never intended to commit.

If you have been drinking, getting behind the wheel can have serious consequences in Alaska, even if you do not actually drive. To avoid a DUI arrest, make arrangements ahead of time to have someone else drive you home safely.