Did you know that you can be arrested for DUI even if you're not physically operating a motor vehicle? A Dekalb County woman recently learned this lesson the hard way. According to reports, police responded to a call about a woman standing in the middle of the street outside of a restaurant. When police arrived on the scene, the woman had entered and fallen asleep in the driver's seat of her car. After determining that the woman was under the influence, she was arrested for DUI.
Georgia DUI Law
How can you be arrested for driving under the influence if you weren't actually driving at the time of your arrest? It essentially boils down to the fact that Georgia has some interesting language in its DUI laws. In order to be arrested for driving under the influence, you must (a) have a legal BAC exceeding the legal limit or exhibit behavior that you are not fit to drive, and (b) drive or be in actual physical control of a moving vehicle.
The important language here is the phrase “drive or be in actual physical control.” This broadens the scope of when your behavior can trigger charges for DUI.
Actual Physical Control
So, we know what “driving” means. What exactly does it mean to be in “actual physical control” of a car? The phrase has been broadly defined to include a wide range of behavior. In the most basic sense of the term, you will be considered to be in actual physical control of a car if there is some indication that you have (a) driven, (b) attempted to drive, or (c) manipulated the vehicle in some way.
You may be considered to be in physical control of a vehicle if:
- The keys are in the ignition
- The engine and hood are warm
- The car is parked, but the engine is running
- You have possession of the car keys, or
- You made an attempt to start the vehicle.
Courts in Georgia have even found that simply being the rightful owner of a vehicle can be used to establish that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle.
Fighting a DUI in Dekalb County
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Dekalb County it is important to defend yourself against any charges that the state may decide to pursue. DUI convictions can result in fines, jail time, and the possible loss of your license. Hiring an experienced Georgia DUI attorney to handle your case will help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
The state must be able to prove (1) that you were driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and (2) you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your Dekalb County DUI attorney will design a defense that limits the state's ability to build a strong case against you. Call us today to arrange a free consultation and learn more.