How States Determine You Were In Control Of A Car
The primary aim of DUI laws is to prevent drunk drivers from driving, and not to punish drunk drivers. This is because drunk driving causes a lot of heartache in terms of road accidents, and punishing offenders (even though punishment does have its place) involves doing something after the damage has already been done.
This is why you can be arrested and charged with a DUI even if you were sitting in your car without actually driving; what matters is that you were in control of the car and could drive off at a moment's notice. Here are some of the questions that authorities use to determine whether an intoxicated motorist in a parked car is in control of the vehicle:
Where Were the Car Keys?
The location of the car keys determines how easy it is for you to start the car if you so wish; it also gives an indication of your intentions. For example, it is easier to accuse you of getting ready to start the car if the key is in the ignition than it is if the car is in one of your bags in the back seat. The nearer the car keys are to the ignition, the more likely you are to be charged with a DUI.
Where Exactly in the Car Were You?
Your position in the car also matters because it also determines how near you were to drive. For example, if you have the keys in your pocket but you are in the front seat, it is easier to charge you with a DUI than another driver lying down in the back seat with their car keys also in their pocket. It is easier for the judge or jury to think that you were planning to drive than to believe that the driver in the back seat was also planning the same thing.
Were You Awake or Sleeping?
It is clear to everyone that any motorist who has fallen asleep in their car is not as close to driving off than a motorist who is sitting wide awake in their car. Therefore, if you were fast asleep when the police first found you, you are safer than someone was found awake.
Was the Car's Motor Running?
Lastly, the state of the engine motor will also be considered. There is no way you can say that you did not intend to drive if your engine motor was running. In fact, even if it's true that you never intended to drive, but your engine was running, it can be argued that you had just parked, which means you had just driven while intoxicated. Therefore, having your engine running is always bad if you are intoxicated.
To learn more, talk to a DUI attorney today.