When is drunk driving not drunk driving?

Drunk driving charges are difficult to face, and in some cases, may come as a complete surprise. While most of us think of drunk driving as occurring when someone is physically operating a vehicle in motion while the driver is intoxicated, not all of these elements must necessarily be present in all cases. Depending on the details of the circumstances, an officer may give out drunk driving charges to someone who is not necessarily "driving" in the sense we think of it from day to day.

Sometimes, an officer may issue drunk driving charges to a person who is not actually driving the vehicle from one place to another. In these instances, the officer may claim that, while not technically in motion, the persona receiving the charges was instead in control of the vehicle. There are a number of ways to object to these charges, depending on the facts of the case.

For instance, where was the vehicle at the time of the charges? Was it actually on a roadway? If not, is it reasonable to argue that the person who received charges was not driving? Similarly, where was the individual within the vehicle? Was he or she in the driver's seat? Were the keys in the ignition or elsewhere? Was the vehicle even operational? It is difficult to claim that drunk driving could have taken place in a vehicle that was not capable of starting, among other things.

Each of these elements provides an opportunity to poke holes in the prosecution's case. An experienced attorney can help you understand the elements of your case and identify strong strategies to fight charges and protect your rights.

Source: Findlaw, "Elements of a DUI Offense," accessed Sep. 01, 2017

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