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Criminal Law

Can You Get a DUI While Parked?

Can You Get a DUI While Parked? — Berry Law Firm — https://jsberrylaw.com/

It is commonly assumed that people can only get a DUI charge if they are actually driving a vehicle. This is untrue: It is possible to be charged with a DUI even when your vehicle is parked.

The reasoning behind parked DUIs is that the person in the car could have the intent to drive or operate their vehicle, meaning they were attempting to drive under the influence. By now, every state has a law in place regarding DUIs while parked.

What is Intent to Drive?

When a person is charged with a DUI while in a parked vehicle, the person’s intent to drive is evaluated. Determining whether or not a person intended to drive involves looking at all the surrounding evidence and determining whether that person planned to operate their vehicle while under the influence.

Some of the key factors that will be evaluated include:

●     Where the occupant of the car was seated

●     Engine status

●     Location of car keys

●     If the parking brake was engaged

In addition to looking at a person’s intent to drive, whether or not the vehicle was being operated is also examined in a non-driving DUI case. Technically, “operating a vehicle” can simply mean that the person in the vehicle was using or manipulating controls of the car, such as turning on lights, or using the radio.

Can You Get a DUI While Sleeping in Your Vehicle?

A person who has been out drinking might believe that sleeping in their car is the safest option. However, the issue with a person sleeping in their car while under the influence is that a police officer might consider that probable cause for a DUI. For example, if a person is asleep in the driver’s seat–and especially if the key is in the ignition–that could be seen as intent to operate the vehicle. If a person needs to sleep in their car because there is no designated driver or cannot find a ride home, they should not be in the front seat, nor should they have the keys in the ignition.

The Significance of Keys in the Ignition

If a car is not running, but the keys are in the ignition, that still shows intent to drive. This is because it could be reasonably assumed that the driver was going to operate their vehicle.

These days, more cars have keyless ignitions, so having the keys in the ignition is less common. However, a broader meaning of having the “keys in the ignition” for keyless cars would be the occupant of the car being in the position of being able to start the car. If the occupant is in the driver’s seat, they could still hypothetically been seen as having the keys in the ignition and, as a result, having the intent to drive.

Does the Location of a Vehicle Impact a Potential Parked DUI?

Another factor that plays into whether someone can be charged with driving under the influence while parked is the location of the vehicle at the time of the DUI. Whether a car is parked in a driveway or near a highway is a contributing factor that can largely influence a case. The location of the car could also indicate whether or not the vehicle was driven before the police showed up.

Looking Ahead

The nuances of parked DUIs often leave those accused scratching their heads. Furthering this confusion are cases involving keyless ignitions, where the idea of ‘intent’ shifts. It can be assumed this will only continue in the coming years with the advent of driver-assist technology.

One thing that has not changed, however, is the importance of understanding DUI laws in your state.

Can You Get a DUI While Parked? — Berry Law Firm — https://jsberrylaw.com/

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