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Can you be arrested for a DUI if your car is parked?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2023 | DUI

You are enjoying a night out and realize you’ve had too much to drink. You do the responsible thing and call an Uber or Lyft for a ride home. However, winter nights in Alaska are cold, so you decide to start your car and turn on the heat while waiting for your ride.

The next thing you know, you are being arrested for a DUI. How is that possible?

“Operating” a vehicle

In Alaska, the term “operate” is broadly defined. It refers to the act of controlling, driving, or navigating any device meant for transportation. Therefore, you don’t need to be driving the vehicle. You are in physical control as long as you are in the vehicle and can quickly start it and leave. So, even if you aren’t driving and your car is parked, you can be arrested for DUI.

Alaska has severe penalties for a DUI conviction, with increased punishments for subsequent offenses.

A first DUI conviction is considered a class A misdemeanor. The penalties include at least 72 hours in jail, 90-day driver’s license revocation, and a $1,500 fine. After driving privileges are returned, the individual must have an ignition interlock device installed.

The penalties for a second DUI conviction within ten years include a minimum of 20 days in jail, fines of at least $3,000, a one-year license suspension and an ignition interlock device for at least one year after driving privileges are returned.

For third and subsequent offenses, the penalties become even more severe. Furthermore, if a DUI is considered a felony, the mandatory minimum sentence includes 120-360 days in jail, a $10,000 fine and a lifetime license revocation.

If you’re charged with a DUI while in a parked car, it’s essential to contact someone who can help you. Due to the severity of DUI punishments, you will need to build a good defense.