Can you get a DUI while parked? Shockingly, you can. Read on to learn how you can get a DUI while parked and what you should do next.
Even though you chose to sleep in your car and only had the AC on, you still got a DUI while parked.
Why You Shouldn’t Sleep It Off
You’re about to leave work when a buddy approaches you.
“It’s Ferguson’s last day and everyone’s gathering at Baker Street Pub. You in?”
You know the safest option would be to take a cab, but as you pull out your phone to open the app, you think, “I should be fine. I’ll only have one beer. Plus, these work things never go long anyway.”
The party ends several hours later. You stumble to your car wishing you hadn’t downed that last pitcher of Saint Arnold’s Summer Pils. As you back out your car you realize you’re too drunk to drive home.
Don’t drink and drive!
“Better sleep this off,” you think. “I can’t afford a DUI right now.”
You re-park the car a few spots over and turn on the AC to cool off from the Texas heat.
You’re seconds from falling asleep when a cop taps on your window. He’s got bad news: you’re getting a DUI.
You can still get a DUI when parked.
Yes, even though you weren’t driving, you still got slapped with a DUI charge.
Even if you only sleep in your car with just the AC on, you can still get a DUI while parked.
To the police it’s not about whether or not the car was on; it’s about whether you had control of the car.
The Intent to Drive
Though this scenario seems implausible, it can happen – and does happen!
In fact, just sitting in your car under the influence is enough to earn you a DUI.
Why? It has to do with intent.
You might be thinking it’s enough that the car was turned off. To the police, however, it’s not about whether or not the car was on; it’s about whether you had control of the car.
Take the case of one Colorado, Texas driver:
He had two beers and decided to drive to Farmington, New Mexico. Along the way, he got confused and decided to stop on the side of the road to rest.
Two sheriff’s deputies saw the vehicle and assumed it was abandoned. When they inspected the car further, they found the driver asleep with the keys in the ignition and the radio on. The engine was off.
The deputies noted the driver’s slurred speech, disheveled clothes, and the smell of alcohol. He was charged a DUI while parked soon after.
The ability to psychically control the car was all the driver needed to get a DUI, while parked.
During the trial, the courts told the jury that movement of the car wasn’t needed to be considered driving under the influence. As long as the driver had physical control of the car, they were driving. The only thing the jury had to figure out was how much control the driver had.
The driver appealed and said the court’s definition of driving was wrong. Driving required vehicle movement, which his car lacked because it was turned off at the time. The courts agreed.
The Colorado Texas Supreme Court agreed with the first court’s assessment. The ability to psychically control the car was all the driver needed to get a DUI while parked.
Yes, you can refuse a breath test and ask for your attorney to be present.
What to Do Next
If the above case seemed confusing, don’t worry. Here is what you should do to simplify your case if you ever get a DUI while parked.
- Don’t say anything! You have the right to remain silent. Use it!
- Refuse the breath test and ask for your attorney. They’ll say you’re not entitled to one but ask for them anyway. That way, the only evidence they’ll have is that they smelled alcohol on your breath.
- Once you get out of jail call your attorney.
Why You Should Call David Hunter
David Hunter is an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who knows the zigs and zags of the legal maze that is the Texas Justice System. David Hunter is also:
- A former judge and prosecutor who knows how the courts think
- Committed to fighting for your rights
If you ever get a DUI, don’t hesitate! Call (2810-265-1515 or click below to get the help you need from DUI Lawyer David Hunter.
Can You Get a DUI While Parked? | The David Hunter Law Firm – Sugar Land, TX – Fort Bend County