A man goes to a bar, has some alcoholic drinks, leaves, and gets into his car. However, instead of starting the car and driving home intoxicated, he falls asleep behind the wheel before turning the key in the ignition. A few hours later, he is awakened by a police officer and charged with driving while intoxicated (DUI). In light of the fact that the man never actually drove, how is this possible?
State DUI Laws Vary
DUI laws are imposed at the state level and in some states, an individual can be charged with DUI for sitting in the driver seat of a car while legally intoxicated even if the car is not running. If a police officer believes that there was intent to drive or the individual refuses to take a breath test that measures blood-alcohol content, the officer may arrest the individual for DUI. This is a little-known area of the law with serious consequences.
If the driver has keys to the vehicle, he or she is considered to be in physical control of it. Therefore, the best approach would be to call for a sober ride from the bar. If this is not possible, handing the keys to the bartender before sleeping it off in the car can avoid a DUI charge even if approached by a law enforcement official.
Handling the Situation
If a DUI charge has already been levied, there is still hope. Get in touch with an experienced DUI attorney and explain what happened. Use DUIRights.com to find a DUI lawyer licensed to practice within the state and request a free DUI arrest evaluation. The lawyer may determine that your rights were violated during the arrest and will begin building a defense.
Many mistakes can be made during a DUI arrest. For example, implied consent law requires a driver to submit to a breath test or face automatic license suspension. This law may not apply if the driver is not operating the vehicle. Therefore, an individual sitting in the driver seat with keys in the ignition should not be required to take a breath test.
State DUI laws can be complex and law enforcement officials sometimes fail to meet the burden of proof required to claim that an individual was operating a vehicle. In other states, a driver may legally be charged with DUI when sitting in a driver seat of a car without keys in the ignition. By retaining a DUI lawyer, a DUI offender can learn more and fight the charge.
DUIRights Support is comprised of legal writers and attorneys who are able to generate useful information about issues relating to DUI. Please use all information at your own discretion and never use the information as legal advice without consulting with an attorney.
4 thoughts on “How Can You Get a DUI with Just Your Keys in the Ignition?”
Yeah this country is simply retarded. I’ve lived in 5 countries in my life, and this very technicality as proof that this is hands down the most retarded country in existence… It’s some white people ass mass incarceration bullshit.
I was given a dui for being the “closest” person to the steering wheel!!! Wasn’t even behind the wheel. Wasn’t even my car either! What can I do?
That sounds crazy! Did anyone admit to driving? Usually if someone admits then they will charge the person admitting. But if no one admitted then you will have to fight it in court with witnesses. If the evidence is weak (sounds like it is) then it might get thrown out even without going to trial.
I didnt refused a sobriety test they took me to the hospital drew blood the cops lost my results didnt read me my rights did 4months 2days. Complyed with the court to have my license reinstated judge died and my case was closed so now i cant get my licemse till 2015 filed a motion and still nothing went to district court for info aand that wat the sec tolld me i have to get another dui in order to c the judge since i have no case open