Can I get a DUI in Arizona even if I am not driving my car?
Sadly, the answer is yes; you can be cited and or arrested for a DUI even if you were not driving at the time of the initial police contact. This most often happens when motorists attempt to sleep off the alcohol they drank by sleeping in a parking lot, or pulling their car off the road because they feel they have had too much to drink.
The good news, however, is that it may be difficult for a prosecutor to convict you of a DUI if you were not actually driving the vehicle when the police contacted you. In this situation, it is imperative to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side.
How is it possible for me to get a DUI, even if I was not driving?
In Arizona, the State must prove that you were either driving or were “in actual physical control,” (APC) of the vehicle. In this case, driving a vehicle means that the vehicle was in motion. Actual physical control, or APC, is very different. APC results where the person is, for all intents and purposes, in control of the vehicle and has a present ability to move the vehicle.
Pursuant to case law, various factors (i.e., key in the ignition, hood of the car warm to the touch, your position in the car [behind the wheel vs. in the back seat], your statements regarding driving, etc.) can be used by the State to show that you were in “actual physical control” of the vehicle.
Some example scenarios of this may be that you were sitting in your car with the engine running, trying to cool off, while waiting for your sober ride, during a hot Arizona summer. Or perhaps you pulled off the road to sleep, and left the keys in the ignition. There are many complex nuances concerning the laws of APC.
These cases are often easier than standard DUI cases to win. If you have been cited or arrested for a DUI under “actual physical control” circumstances it is important that you contact an experienced DUI lawyer.