It’s impossible to know your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) without submitting to a BAC test. Some people who consume alcohol make the decision to play it safe and not drive, having a pretty good idea that they’re probably over the .08% legal limit.
Many people make the decision to wait for a ride from a friend or Uber or Lyft in their car, or simply sleep it off in their cars, thinking that they're doing the right thing and avoiding the risk of a DUI arrest.
Unfortunately, this approach is risky. The problem is that even if you aren't driving, but are in your vehicle, you could still get arrested for driving under the influence if an officer has reason to issue you a ticket or another violation.
For instance, you could be facing actual DUI charges because as you sat in the driver’s seat, you had the keys to the car and you were in “actual physical control” of the vehicle, which can warrant a DUI arrest, even if the engine was not running.
You could quickly find yourself facing charges that carry fines, probation, a license suspension, and jail time.
When can this happen to me?
One of the ways that an officer will identify a drunk driver is by looking for hints in their driving. They will stop cars that are driving over the speed limit, failing to come to complete stops at stop signs, forgetting to signal when making a turn, or swerving in and out of traffic.
However, this does not mean that you must actually be driving to be arrested for DUI or that you must commit a moving violation to get pulled over on the road.
Some non-moving violations you can be pulled over for include:
- Failure to have license plates
- Broken headlights or taillights
- Illegal parking
- Illegally tinted windows
- Expired registration
- Littering from the vehicle
- Not wearing your seatbelt
Even if there was no reason to believe that you were intoxicated, police are within their legal rights to search for signs of intoxication when they stop or approach you for a non-moving violation.
If you are exhibiting some of the common signs of intoxication, such as a strong odor of alcohol from your breath, loud and slurred speech, slowed movements, or glassy and red eyes, the officer may have enough reason to ask you to submit to tests.
In many cases, drivers who aren't even on the road can find themselves facing charges when parked illegally, for example, in a red or tow away zone, or in a handicap parking spot.
At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., our legal team has represented many clients who were charged with DUI while not actually driving.
If you, or someone you know finds yourself in this situation, call our Orange County DUI defense firm to speak with a Board Certified DUI defense specialist for free!