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Can You be Arrested for DUI Even if You're Not Driving



Do not assume that you must be driving in order to be arrested and convicted of DUI/DWI. In many states, being stopped by police while driving is not a prerequisite for arrest, and several courts have upheld the charges. One example is the Case of David Montalvo, who was arrested for DUI in New Jersey after being found by police sleeping behind the wheel in a deli parking lot.

However, you can still win your case if you are caught in a similar situation. Cases such as this are hotly debated in every state, but with an experienced DUI attorney beside you in court, it is possible to walk away innocent.

Physical Control of the Vehicle

In order for a DUI charge to stick, prosecutors must establish that you had physical control of your vehicle. This does not mean that you have to be driving. Most judges will say that if reasonable evidence exists to show you will drive immediately after you are found by police or that you drove immediately before you were found by police, then you can be arrested for DUI.

Several factors can contribute to a judge or jury believing that you had physical control of your vehicle. Some of these factors are as follows:

  • You are in the driver's seat
  • The car is running
  • The keys are outside of your pocket or in the ignition
  • The engine is warm

If you were arrested for DUI while not driving and you did not meet any of the above criteria, an experienced attorney has a lot to work with in court because it is extremely difficult to show you had control of the vehicle.

Don't Take the Chance

It seems like a very sane option to sleep off your drunkenness in your car instead of trying to drive home, but it can get you arrested as well as the potential injury of others. Even if you are found innocent in court, you will have to spend the night in jail, and your license will be suspended pending your trial. Instead of sleeping it off in your car, call a taxi, have a friend drive you home, get a motel room or sleep anywhere else but inside your vehicle.