Were you charged with a DUI when you were not driving, but just sitting in your car? Believe it or not, this does happen in Arizona. Arizona law allows for DUI charges if you are under the influence and driving or in “actual physical control” of a vehicle.
So, what does actual physical control mean? The answer to this question is not as black and white as the police or prosecutors would like to make it seem. Whether someone is in actual physical control requires looking at the totality of the circumstances to determine whether a person’s current or imminent control of a vehicle presented a real danger to himself or others at the time alleged.
Some of the factors that a court or jury should consider when determining whether a person was in actual physical control include:
This list of factors is not all-inclusive, as you can see by the final bullet point above. A court or jury can look to other evidence that may show that a person was not in actual physical control of a vehicle. It may be a defense to your DUI charge if you were using your vehicle as a stationary shelter. This “Shelter Rule” is in place so that people are not punished for having the wherewithal to “sleep off” their intoxication rather than trying to make it home before getting caught by police.
The Arizona DUI attorneys at the Rosenstein Law Group have successfully litigated many actual physical control cases. We most often see actual physical control DUI cases charged when someone is found sleeping inside of their running vehicle in a parking lot, their driveway, or on the side of the road. However, it is possible to see an actual physical control case charged when the car is not running at all, but a person is simply sitting inside of the car with the keys in their possession.
If you are arrested or charged with a DUI for being in actual physical control of a vehicle, contact the experienced DUI attorneys at the Rosenstein Law Group at 480-248-7666 or online to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.