Can You Be Charged with DUI When Sobering Up in Your Car?

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Understanding the specifics of DUI charges.

When most people think about being charged with DUI, they imagine an intoxicated driver acting recklessly or demonstrating poor motor control.  However, there are actually more ways you can be charged with a DUI.  For instance, it’s possible to be charged even when an intoxicated driver has pulled off the road in an effort to sober up.  Surprised?  Here’s what you need to know about the specifics of DUI charges.

Understanding Intent

If you have had too much to drink, then you may think about sleeping it off in the comfort of your own car.  However, it is important to understand that the Supreme Court has ruled that you can be charged with a DUI even if you have not driven and your car is parked.  But how is this possible?  Well, when an officer sees an intoxicated person in their car, they make a determination about the person’s intent to drive.  If they decide that the person does intend to drive, then the driver can be cited for DUI.

How Intent is Determined

As a driver, you may be wondering how an officer determines your intent to drive.  First, it’s important to understand when these charges typically take place.  Usually, these types of DUI charges happen when it’s very late or very early in the morning.  Oftentimes, officers will see intoxicated people in their cars in the parking lots of bars, nightclubs, fast food restaurants, and nearby businesses.  Once they see a suspicious-looking vehicle with a drunk individual inside, they will look for certain things to determine the individual’s intent.  For instance, they will check for the following:

  • Whether the person is asleep in the driver’s seat- If a driver sees you in the driver’s seat of your car, it’s reasonable for them to assume that you got behind the wheel with the intention to drive.  They have no way of knowing if you passed out while trying to start the car.  To be on the safe side, they would charge you with DUI to ensure that you never got on the road.
  • Whether the car keys are in the ignition- Just because you did not actually start your car does not mean that you didn’t try.  When your keys are in the ignition, this gives the impression that you intended to drive while under the influence.
  • Whether they appear as if they intend to drive- Even if you decide to sober up in the passenger seat or backseat or your car and even if you do not turn your car on, an officer can still determine your intent to drive.  They will look for other criteria and if it appears that you intend to drive while under the influence, they can charge you with DUI.

Fighting DUI Charges

Fortunately for drivers, you can fight these types of DUI charges in court.  By providing supporting evidence about your circumstances, it is possible to have your DUI charges dropped.  Please speak to an experienced attorney for specific legal advice on your case.

This is what you need to know about sobering up in your car and the specifics of DUI charges.  Have you been charged with DUI?  If so, then contact the experts at Staybull Insurance.  Our specialized team is ready to assist you with all your Florida FR44 insurance needs today.

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