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Is It Possible to Receive a DUI When You’re Not Driving?

Passenger drinking alcohol

Perhaps you’d intended to take it easy on a night out on the town with friends, planning to drive yourself home, but the night gets a little out of control. At last call in the bar, you find yourself in no shape to drive, but are far from home with no way to get your car home if you don’t drive it. You’d probably conclude that the responsible choice–and the one that would allow you to avoid being arrested for drunk driving— would be to return to your car to sleep for several hours until you feel able to drive safely, right? Maybe not, if you’re a Kentucky driver. Read on to find out how you can be arrested for driving under the influence even when you’re not driving.

The Kentucky statute on driving under the influence states that, when someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that “person shall not operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle anywhere in this state[.]” See those words “physical control”? Those are the words that make it possible for a Kentucky police officer to arrest someone for a DUI who isn’t driving. If police suspect that someone in a car is intoxicated and has the means to drive, or did drive for a time but stopped driving, then they can still arrest the intoxicated person for driving under the influence.

In order to be found guilty of a DUI under these circumstances, a prosecutor must prove that the arrestee was actually in physical control of the vehicle when arrested. Under Kentucky case law, the court will look at four factors when determining whether the suspect was in physical control:

  1. Whether the suspect was sleeping or awake when approached by police,
  2. Whether or not the car’s engine was running when police approached,
  3. Where the car was located and how it got there, and
  4. The intent of the suspect.

Where the car is located can be significant. If a car is parked in a parking lot near where you assert you’d been that evening, then that would be stronger support for an argument that you hadn’t been driving and had no intention to drive. However, if your car is parked on a quiet stretch of road far from where you’d been drinking, it would be harder to try and convince a court that you hadn’t driven under the influence to reach that point. When facing charges such as these, you need a skilled attorney who can convincingly argue your case before a judge or jury and effectively utilize any available evidence to show that you were behaving as responsibly and safely as possible under the circumstances.

If you are facing charges for driving under the influence in Kentucky, protect your future and contact the knowledgeable and dedicated Louisville DUI defense lawyer Ron Aslam for a consultation, at 502-581-1676.