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DUIs When You're Not Even Driving?


We have had people contact us in confusion and outrage over DUIs they got when they were not driving their vehicles. Can you be arrested for DUI if you weren't driving at the time? In California, the vehicle code states that it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Some states, such as Arizona, say “actual physical control” rather than driving, which makes more sense when arresting people when they are not actually driving. But in California, the word is “driving” which makes it confusing for the drivers who are arrested for DUI while their car is parked, or in some cases, at home.

Consider this example scenario. A man has two beers at dinner and then gets in his car to leave. After a brief period of driving, he determines that he is too intoxicated to drive so he pulls over. While he is pulled over, a cop approaches his window and asks if he has been driving, and how he got to his current location. The driver is honest and tells the officer that he had two beers at dinner and then pulled over to sober up before driving home. After hearing this, the officer arrests the driver for DUI.

In another scenario, a woman who has just had a few glasses of wine with her friends walks to her car in the parking lot. She gets in the driver's seat, and before her car is even in motion, a cop approaches her and asks her if she's had anything to drink. The driver is honest and answers yes, so the officer arrests her for DUI.

If you were arrested in a similar scenario, you actually have a strong case. Gold & Witham can defend you against the DUI charges you got while you weren't driving your car. The officer's observation of your driving is a crucial piece of evidence the judge needs to convict you. Without it, you may be able to get your charged reduced and even dismissed.

Did the officer see you driving? If not, was there enough evidence to indicate that you intended to drive? Contact the Los Angeles DUI lawyers at Gold & Witham today to learn about your defense options. We provide free case evaluations and are available 24/7 to take your calls.