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You can still be charged with a DUI even if you weren’t driving

The “D” in DUI may stand for driving. However, you can still be arrested for suspicion of DUI even if your car was never moving. This could be a rude realization if you were “sleeping it off” or were even just sitting in your car listening to music after a night of drinking. Nonetheless, if police believe that you had physical control of your vehicle, you could find yourself facing criminal charges.

Actual physical control is determined by a persons’ position in the vehicle and their ability to operate the vehicle.  You must be in a position to operate the controls.  This is a question for the jury.

What about once you get home, and are lying in bed?  If someone had previously reported erratic driving, or an accident, and had a very strong identification of you driving the vehicle, then the police could arrest you for DUI then as well.  Their eyewitness would have to be credible to the jury as there would not be any other evidence of you driving.  In addition, any alcohol you drank while you are at home should not be used in determining the BAC at the time you were driving.  These can be complicated cases, and a good reason to hire a lawyer.

How easy would it be for you to drive off?

South Dakota law allows for the arrest of a person who has physical control of a vehicle. So, what does physical control mean? Primarily, it turns on how easy it would be for you to drive away. For example, as what often occurs in South Dakota, let’s say you’re sitting in your car on a cold night. You decide to turn your vehicle on to run the heater. You may have had no intention of going anywhere, but you’re sitting in the driver’s seat with the car running. This would likely be enough to charge you with a DUI.

You may be doing the responsible thing by choosing not to drive. However, the law may not see your point of view. Regardless of the situation that led to your arrest, you have rights. A skilled legal professional can discuss your defense options.