Can I Get a DUI/DWI even if I wasn’t driving? Unfortunately, yes, you can get a DUI even if you weren’t driving the car. A common DUI question is whether a person can be charged or convicted of a DUI even if they were not driving when they were cited for DUI. This typically happens when people are parked in a parking lot getting ready to leave or waiting for somebody. I have seen it happen when people pull off the road because they think they may have had too much to drink and shouldn’t be driving.
The bad news is yes; you can be charged, cited and or arrested for DUI even if you were not driving when the police contacted you. The good news is that it is that it may be difficult for the prosecutor to convict you of DUI if you were not driving when the police contacted you. If you are in this situation, I highly recommend you get an experienced DUI Lawyer to help you. You need a good lawyer because although you have a very good defense to your DUI charge, not every lawyer will understand exactly how to defend this particular issue.
DUI cases that involve people not driving are referred to as Actual Physical Control cases and commonly called “APC cases.” Driving is easy to understand, either you are in your car and your car is in motion or not. On the other hand, actual physical control of a motor vehicle applies when your vehicle is parked. You can be charged with DUI if you are just sitting in your car with engine running trying to stay warm until your ride comes. You can be charged if you have pulled off of the road and shut the car off, but left the keys in the ignition. I have even see prosecutors claim an individual was in actual physical control of their car even though the engine was off and the keys were out of the ignition, sitting on the passenger seat.
DUI prosecutions arise even when the person is not in their car when police arrive. A common scenario I have seen is after a car accident, people leaving their cars and then later, after the police arrive, admitting to the police they were driving. In many cases, the police did not have probable cause to make a DUI arrest until the suspect started offering information to the police and then admitted they had been driving. It is surprising and unfortunate to see people incriminate themselves this way.
Again, the good news is that if you have a case like this, you might be able to beat your DUI. You might have a winnable case, but you definitely have a case that should be fought – and fought hard by an attorney who knows how to do it. There are many legal nuances that come into play in these types of cases. Therefore, in these situations, I always recommend you get the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer.