Can You Be Arrested for DUI in a Parked Car?
In most cases, people are contacted by police, investigated and cited for DUI after being stopped for speeding, failing to maintain a single lane of traffic, not stopping for a stop sign or some other traffic violation. However, the Arizona DUI laws allow police to arrest someone if there are merely sitting in their car and found to be impaired by alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs.
Under A.R.S. 28-1381:
A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances:
1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.
2. If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle.
3. While there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body.
4. If the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle that requires a person to obtain a commercial driver license as defined in section 28-3001 and the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more.
A.R.S 28-1382 states:
A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state if the person has an alcohol concentration as follows within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle:
1. 0.15 or more but less than 0.20.
2. 0.20 or more.
The key sentence in both of these Arizona DUI statutes is that it is "unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle" if impaired by alcohol or if the person has an alcohol concentration above the legal limit (.08), Extreme DUI (.150) or Super Extreme DUI (.200) limit.
"Actual Physical Control" of a motor vehicle, is determined based upon whether a an individual has the intention or ability to drive their car. In these cases where people are parked in a parking lot or by the side of the road, a number of factors must be considered in defending a DUI charge. These include where the person was located in the vehicle, whether the engine was running, whether the keys were in the ignition, whether the person was asleep of awake and where the vehicle was parked. Of course, there are other facts police and prosecutors may look at when deciding to arrest someone for DUI and prosecute them in court.
Of course, every case is different and you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your rights are fully protected. Certainly, drunk driving cases are very complex and require representation from an attorney who regularly practices DUI defense in Arizona. I have represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years who have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence.