Imagine that you have a night out at the bar with your friends and, upon closing time, head out to your car parked on the street. By the time you realize that you should probably not drive home, your friends have already left. You do not want to pay for a cab, so you decide to take a nap in your car to allow some time to pass so you sober up before driving. However, your cell phone is about to die, so you turn on the engine of your car in order to charge your phone. Next thing you know, you are being placed into handcuffs, taken to jail, and you face charges of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.
How does this happen?
Most people believe that in order to get a DUI, your vehicle must actually be in motion. However, the law does not require that your vehicle is moving for you to be considered a “driver” for DUI purposes. Instead, Colorado DUI laws consider a driver to be an individual who is in physical control of the vehicle and who has the ability to operate the car. Physical control may be determined by the following factors and more:
- If you were sitting in the driver’s seat;
- If the keys were found in the ignition;
- If the engine was running;
- Where your vehicle was parked; and
- Any other relevant factor that may lead a law enforcement officer to believe you had control of the vehicle or the ability to put the vehicle into motion.
The prosecutor can have the arresting officer testify in your case that the officer believed you had the ability and/or intention of driving the car in which you were sitting. Even if you simply turned on the engine to charge a phone or turn on the heat to stay warm and never planned on driving the car, you could end up facing charges of DUI and the serious penalties that come with it. If you do not have another option for a ride home and absolutely have to sleep it off in your car, make sure you sit in the back, as far away from the steering wheel as possible and avoid putting the keys in the ignition. If you do find yourself facing a parked DUI, you need an attorney on your side who understands how to combat the officer’s assertion that you were in physical control of the vehicle.
Contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Denver for assistance today
No matter what the circumstances of your case may be, your first call should be to an experienced Denver DUI defense attorney if you are arrested on suspicion of DUI. An attorney will know how to best challenge an officer’s assertion that you were in physical control over a vehicle to avoid wrongful conviction. Jay Tiftickjian knows how to handle DUI cases with a wide variety of circumstances and legal issues, so please do not delay in calling the Tiftickjian Law Firm at 303-DUI-5280 to find out how we can help with your DUI case.