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Do not accidentally make it appear that you were “in control” of your car

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | DUI

When people generally think about getting a DUI, they assume they would be driving their car when they get pulled over by the police. Maybe they made a mistake like swerving in their lane, running a stop sign or causing a car accident. But they were clearly driving the vehicle while under the influence.

It’s important to note that the law technically says that drivers can be arrested if they are under the influence while driving or operating a motor vehicle.”

This makes a distinction between driving the vehicle and operating it. As long as it appears that you are in control of the vehicle in some fashion, then you could face DUI charges, even if the vehicle wasn’t moving.

How could this happen?

An example of how this could happen is if you are at a social gathering with your friends. You drove there, but you know you’ve had too much to drink to drive home safely. One of your friends hasn’t been drinking and says they will give you a ride home and that you should just go wait in your car.

While sitting in your car with the keys in your pocket, the police knock on the windshield. They could theoretically claim that you were in control of the vehicle, meaning you were operating it, even though you weren’t driving at the time. This is especially likely to happen if the car is running – such as if you’re keeping it warm on a cold evening.

A misunderstanding like this could lead to serious charges when you feel like you didn’t break the law – at least not intentionally. It’s important for you to understand what criminal defense options you have.