the value of hiring an attorney for your troubled child
About Me
the value of hiring an attorney for your troubled child

The first time my son got into some legal trouble, I didn't hire an attorney. I figured that he would just get a slap on the wrist and that he should accept his punishment, and that's what happened. The second time he got into trouble, I had to hire an attorney. I knew that since he had a record, the judge would not be so lenient about his punishment and he could suffer some serious consequences that could haunt him for his entire life. If you have a troubled child, my blog could help you understand the value of hiring an attorney for him or her.

the value of hiring an attorney for your troubled child

Can You Be Arrested For DUI/DWI When You Weren't Actually Driving (Or Even In A Car)?

Owen Bertrand

A 29-year-old Washington man, who stumbled into a police station after mistaking it for his utility billing office while high, is learning a lesson the hard way that everyone should know: you can and will get arrested for a DUI if the police have evidence that you've recently been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol even if you weren't actually seen doing it. Here's what you need to know.

There are plenty of situations that can lead to an arrest even if you aren't driving.

Unlike the man in Washington, most people who end up being arrested when they aren't even behind the wheel probably haven't just driven themselves to the police station in a drug-infused haze. The arrest can come as a shock because they don't realize that most DUI laws have provisions not just for drivers but also for people in "actual physical control" of a vehicle. This can lead to arrests in some potentially surprising situations:

  • Your car breaks down on the way home, you call the police for assistance, and the officer asks if you were drinking at dinner.
  • You knew you were too intoxicated to drive so you laid down in the car to sleep it off or fell asleep waiting on the friend you called to come get you.
  • You're working outside, having a few drinks, and you turn your car or truck on so you can listen to the radio while you work.
  • You took the risk, drove under the influence, and made it home—but the bartender or a neighbor reported you and the police show up after you're safe in bed.
  • The police officer believes that you switched places with a sober passenger after you spotted the officer's car.
  • You're the passenger and your driver, who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, gets into an accident and ditches the car, the keys, and you.

The lesson you need to take from this information is that you can still end up facing a hefty DUI charge even if you weren't caught doing anything wrong or didn't actually do anything wrong.

Circumstantial evidence can lead to your conviction.

How do the police prove that you had actual physical control of the vehicle or were actually driving while intoxicated when they never saw your car in motion? Unless, like the Washington man mentioned above, you decide to admit to your crime, the police will most likely use a combination of circumstantial and physical evidence against you:

  • A warm engine or warm tires show that the car was recently driven.
  • A lack of condensation on the vehicle when other vehicles nearby are covered in dew, ice, raindrops, or snow.
  • Your access and proximity to the keys or the fact that the keys were in the ignition.
  • Your car is in a ditch, in the middle of the road, or shows other signs of having been in an accident.
  • Witnesses place you somewhere where alcohol was being served and claim you drove away drunk.

You may also have to contend with the results of any chemical testing that was done once you were detained by the police.

Fortunately, circumstantial cases can be weak, especially if you really didn't drive the vehicle anywhere or were just the passenger. Roadside tests used by police officers, particularly breathalyzers, are notoriously flawed and unreliable. It's important not to assume that your case is lost just because the police tell you that they have more than enough evidence to convict you even though you weren't seen driving. Talk to an attorney like those at Boehmer Law who specializes in DUI/DWI cases to help you build your case.