Does My Car Have To Be In Motion To Be Charged With A DUI?

Posted on: 16 March 2022

If you are sitting in a parked car and have had a few drinks, you might assume that a police officer will not have probable cause to conduct an investigation into whether you have been drinking. However, this is not necessarily the case. The officer might still approach your car and begin a DUI investigation.

Probable Cause

In most states, a police officer can have probable cause if they have reason to believe you were drinking and driving. They might suspect that you were driving, became concerned about being pulled over, and pulled over to the side of the road.

The Characteristics of a DUI

Driving a car can include driving it through a parking lot, driving it down a road, driving it down your driveway, or even removing the parking brake and letting the car roll. If you decide to place your car in neutral and allow it to roll for a few inches, you can then be charged with a DUI if you fail a breathalyzer test.

Even if the police officer did not directly observe you operating the vehicle, they might be able to infer that you were driving the vehicle by the fact that the engine is still hot, the tires are still warm, the keys are in the ignition, or the car is still in drive. 

The Role of Your DUI Attorney

When you are arrested and charged with a DUI, you may want to contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible. If you are not able to beat your charges, you might find yourself with a misdemeanor conviction, several months in jail, a driver's license suspension, or mandatory DUI courses. An attorney may be able to help you strengthen your case.

Effective DUI Defenses

There are several ways in which your DUI attorney may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed. For example, they might argue that the arresting officer did not have probable cause. If there is no evidence that you were under the influence of alcohol, the officer cannot conduct an investigation. However, the officer might have decided to contact you for a different reason such as sleeping in your car.

Your attorney might also be able to help you argue that you drank after you drove. For example, if you drove to a particular location and had a bottle of alcohol afterward, your DUI attorney may be able to help you have your charges dropped.

Contact a DUI attorney near you to learn more.