Many people do not realize that you can get charged with a DUI while your vehicle is parked. Although it is not very common, the possibility still does exist. A parked DUI looks slightly different from a standard DUI because the criminal charge is contingent upon the prosecutor being able to prove to the court that the operator of the vehicle was actually driving while they were intoxicated. Additionally, they must prove that the police office at the scene reasonably saw that the vehicle’s owner had the intention to drive or was preparing to drive while intoxicated at the time of the traffic stop.
The aforementioned action is referred to as an attempted DUI. This means you are not guilty of having actually driven under the influence, but instead you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol with the intent to drive. Criminal attempted DUIs exist so that the authorities may prevent a potentially dangerous incident before it happens.
Also, you may still get a DUI if you were sleeping in your vehicle but not operating it. The police may have probable cause to arrest you for DUI if there are signs that you were driving under the influence before pulling over to sleep. In this case, it is very important to note where you were located in the car when you were found sleeping to determine whether you were drunk driving. Being in the driver’s seat, for example, gives police officers probable cause to believe the operator of the vehicle had been driving.
Addressing a Parked DUI in Court
In the interest of public safety, many courts will look at whether the driver was attempting to drive or reasonably could have been driving when permitting prosecution. Courts will generally consider all of the indicators that a person was about to operate their vehicle, like:
- Whether or not the vehicle’s lights were on
- If the parking brake was released
- Whether or not the keys were in the ignition
- If the vehicle was on at the time of the police stop, and
- Whether or not the driver placed their belongings on the passenger seat.
The most common circumstantial evidence of a DUI includes a warm engine or tires or a direct admission from the driver that they were driving under the influence. The best possible way to avoid a parked DUI is to simply not drive while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. If you are faced with an attempted DUI, consulting with an experienced attorney is well advised. A good attorney will evaluate the circumstantial evidence against you and determine whether they will be able to stand in court. From there, they can navigate the case with you step-by-step so that they can try to disprove the officer’s determination of probable cause.