Skip to Content

DUI Accident in Orange County


I received a copy of a police report today relating to a DUI case in Westminster, Orange County. The facts of the case are that my client was driving a vehicle with a high blood alcohol level with two passengers in the vehicle. My client got into an argument with the front seat passenger who, according to the report, grabbed the steering wheel causing the vehicle to crash. Fortunately, nobody was injured as a result of the collision. The interesting aspect to this case is that the police charged both my client and the front seat passenger with DUI.

The passenger was also intoxicated. By grabbing the steering wheel, the passenger assumed momentary control of the vehicle causing it to crash. On this basis, she is also facing a prosecution for driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

As far as my client is concerned, I do not believe that the fact that the passenger was also charged will help a great deal, other than to establish that she did not cause the accident, thereby avoiding additional penalties. Typically a prosecutor will want some Caltrans or other Community Labor as punishment for causing a DUI accident.

The passenger admitted her actions to the police and was apologetic to my client. I doubt that she expected to be arrested for a DUI and I am sure that her arrest came as a big surprise. I hope that she has retained a good Orange County DUI Lawyer to represent her as I am sure that a Prosecutor will expect a conviction unless she defends herself.

In some States, it is an offense to be in care and control of a vehicle while impaired through alcohol, even if the vehicle is not driven. This would apply to a situation where an impaired person is sitting in the drivers seat of a vehicle, perhaps listening to the radio, but with no proof of actual driving. In California, proof of driving, meaning proof of some volitional movement of the vehicle is required to prosecute a DUI. However, just taking the handbrake off a stationary vehicle causing it to move forward slightly has been held to constitute “driving”.