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Do drunk driving charges require you to be driving?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2022 | Drunk Driving

The advice is clear: Don’t drink and drive. You’ve undoubtedly heard and seen it in many times.

You decide to follow that advice when you unexpectedly bump into an old college friend and end up having one too many drinks. You leave the bar, get into your car and shut your eyes to sleep off the alcohol. The only problem is that the police knock at your window sometime later.

Can they still give you a DUI?

In some cases, they can charge you with a DUI. It all depends on what they see when they look into your car.

To understand more, you need to look at how Maryland defines driving. The law does not say you need to be moving. It still considers you are driving if you are in “physical control of the vehicle.”

What does that mean? It depends on who you ask. If the police give you a DUI, you need to look at ways to show you were not in physical control of the vehicle. Consider the following:

  • Were the keys in the ignition?
  • Were you in the driver’s seat?
  • Were your lights on?
  • Were you close to the road?

Let’s say the police find you in the middle of an empty parking lot, asleep in the rear of your car in a sleeping bag. Your keys are in the glove box. The lights are off, and so are your shoes. It should be clear to everyone that you had no intention of operating the vehicle.

If, however, they discover you slumped over the wheel, lights still on, and motor running, the fact that you are snoring away is unlikely to save you.

If your attempt to sleep off the alcohol before driving home got you arrested, seek legal help to examine your DUI defense options.