group of friends drinking and driving

Can I Be Charged With DUI in Arizona Even If I’m Not Driving?

Most people believe that an individual can only receive a DUI while operating a vehicle. After all, it’s called “drunk driving” for a reason, right? Surprisingly, this isn’t the case. Depending on the circumstances, a person may receive a DUI charge without ever hitting the gas pedal. An individual who receives a DUI charge in this type of situation is often dumbfounded—and understandably so. DUI laws are intended to protect the public from intoxicated drivers, and if a driver never even gets on the road, it’s reasonable to argue that the public wasn’t endangered. However, as is discussed below, a driver who is in “actual physical control” of a vehicle, whether that vehicle is moving or not, can be charged with DUI in Arizona. 

Actual Physical Control 

In Arizona, a person has actual physical control of a vehicle if he or she poses a potential threat to others. This vague language gives officers a lot of leeway in making arrests in situations involving non-moving vehicles. When analyzing whether a person had actual physical control of a vehicle at the time of his or her arrest, courts in Arizona consider factors such as:

  • Whether the vehicle was running
  • Whether the keys were in the ignition
  • Whether the suspect was in the driver seat
  • The location of the vehicle
  • The time of day the arrest was made

Avoiding DUI Charges

In order to avoid a DUI charge based on the situation described above, drivers should take the following precautions after consuming alcohol:

  • Get a ride home from a sober friend
  • Get a ride home from a ridesharing service or a taxi
  • Sober up outside your vehicle if possible
  • If you are sitting in your car, don’t put the keys in the ignition
  • Make sure your vehicle is parked safely
  • Sit in the backseat or passenger seat

Let Us Fight Your DUI Charge 

If you’ve been charged with DUI for simply sitting in your vehicle, you must prove that you did not have actual physical control of your vehicle at the time of your arrest. However, defending a DUI charge in this type of situation can be highly complex, so you should never try to navigate the legal system on your own. Rather, if you’re facing a DUI charge in Arizona, you need an experienced legal team on your side. At the Blischak Law Firm, our experienced Arizona DUI attorneys have extensive experience defending clients who have been charged with all types of DUI crimes. When we take on your case, we’ll do everything in our power to prove your innocence and preserve your good name. Please contact us as soon as possible for a consultation with one of our talented Arizona DUI attorneys.

Posted in DUI