Although the popular belief is that someone must be driving a vehicle in order to receive a DUI, the truth is that anyone can be cited for driving under the influence even when they are not technically driving a vehicle. The only requirement for a DUI is that an individual have “physical control” over the vehicle. Basically, this means that they have the power to drive, because they are in the driver’s seat with keys to the vehicle. These types of DUIs are sometimes termed “parked car DUIs”
Physical Control and Parked Car DUIs
When someone is arrested due to having physical control of their vehicle while intoxicated, they may be able to use a few different defense strategies in order to combat claims from law enforcement that they were a danger to themselves and others. “Physical control” is defined by the law very clearly, which actually allows defendants to argue that they did not meet the strict definition of “physical control” while intoxicated. For example:
>The individual was not inebriated to the point of illegal intoxication while driving (.08 BAC), but they were arrested anyway.
>The individual was not in a position in the vehicle that would allow them to take control of the vehicle
>The person’s keys were not in a reachable place, making it impossible for them to have physical control over the vehicle.
A good example of this is if someone attempts to sleep in the back seat of their car rather than attempt to drive while intoxicated, they may not be considered to have physical control of the vehicle, especially if they do not have their keys with them.
DUI Charges in Arizona
Driving under the influence is taken very seriously in the state of Arizona. When it comes to going out on the town, more and more people, both young and old, are choosing to take advantage of the Phoenix transit system by riding the Metro light-rail from places like Glendale to downtown Phoenix. When individuals choose to take their car out to bars, they run the risk of incurring one of Arizona’s notorious DUI charges. Arizona has four different types of DUI charges which depend on the level of intoxication of the driver. These include:
Driving Under the Influence – Blood-alcohol level of .08 to .15
Extreme DUI - Blood-alcohol level of .15 to .200
Super-Extreme DUI – Blood-alcohol level above .200
Felony DUI – Not dependent on BAC. Felony DUIs are given to drunk drivers who have a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle, and those who are receiving their fourth DUI within seven years
Disregarding the felony DUI, all of the consequences that come with these charges may increase when there are prior convictions for driving under the influence. Fighting DUI charges in Arizona is difficult, especially without the help of an experienced DUI attorney. Anyone who is charged with a DUI should look into hiring a skilled Arizona DUI attorney who can help them set up a solid defense.