Turning the key in the ignition and driving off stands as a terrible idea when you are under the influence. The tremendous safety risks to yourself and others contribute to Florida’s harsh DUI penalties. Some drivers feel it’s best to “sleep off” an intoxicated state. While doing so could prevent a car crash, choosing to sleep inside a car and at the wheel may lead to legal troubles.
DUI charges and controlling the vehicle
The police could stop a drunk person when he or she tries to open a car door with the keys. Even though the person did not drive the vehicle, the intention seems apparent. Keys in hand also display control over the car, so the charges could end up being challenging to defend. What happens if someone opens the door, gets behind the wheel, and chooses to sleep things off? Legal troubles might still arise.
Under Florida statutes, a person may face charges for driving under the influence when operating a vehicle or maintaining physical control. If someone could operate the car right away without any trouble, the person likely has actual physical control.
Challenging the DUI charges
What if another person has the keys and unlocked the car’s door? Proving actual physical control may be challenging since the person cannot start the vehicle. However, an arrest may occur. The defense could focus on the person’s inability to control the vehicle and may seek a dismissal of the DUI charges.
Being charged with a DUI doesn’t automatically lead to a guilty verdict. Everything from a lack of probable cause to a false positive test could undermine the prosecution.
An attorney may review the facts surrounding a DUI charge to address whether actual physical control exists. The attorney might look at other evidence and discuss options for a defense.