You Do Not Have To Be Driving To Be Charged With DUI

Arizona law states that “it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle” while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In other words, you do not have to actually be driving to be arrested for DUI in Tucson, Arizona. If you were in actual physical control of the vehicle, you can also be charged, convicted, and issued serious penalties, including loss of liberty (jail time).

WHAT IS ACTUAL PHYSICAL CONTROL?

In some ways, getting charged for DUI without driving is almost like being charged with attempting to commit a DUI, which isn’t a charge that actually exists. That’s why the term “physical control” makes the situation a lot more complicated. Actual physical control is a fairly nebulous legal concept. Whether or not a person had actual physical control over a vehicle is determined based on a variety of factors.

Questions that may be asked to determine actual physical control include: Was the car running? Was the ignition on? Was the key in the ignition? Was the key in the driver’s pocket or somewhere else altogether? Was the driver in the driver’s seat or somewhere else in the car? Was the driver awake or asleep? Were the headlights on? Was the heat or air conditioner on? Where was the car parked?

CAN I GET A DUI IF I PULLED OVER TO SLEEP IN ARIZONA?

In theory, the concept of actual physical control is intended to apply to those whose current or imminent use of a vehicle could cause harm to themselves or others by their use or attempted use of the vehicle. It is not necessarily designed to work against people who were being safe and got off the road when they were not in a condition to drive.

However, the complexity of the actual physical control concept means that people who were trying to do the right thing may still get ensnared and charged with DUI. Technically, the “physical control” phrase in the law can wind up damaging people who attempted to be responsible. In these situations, it is important for the accused to enlist an attorney who is well-versed in this legal concept, and who can argue that the circumstances showed that you were not a danger, and the charge should be dropped.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET CHARGED WITH A DUI?

Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. And for people under the age of 21, there’s a zero-tolerance policy. For example, if you’re 20 years old and your breath tests positive for less than half of the legal limit, it doesn’t matter. Anything above a 0.00 is a DUI for underage drinkers.

An ignition interlock device is required for anyone found guilty of a DUI. It’s a breath tester that’s installed directly into the ignition of any and all vehicles that you drive, and you are responsible for the full cost of the device. This cost does not include any additional fines the court may impose upon you. Expect to spend thousands of dollars.

Your driving privileges will also change. Your license will be suspended for at least 30 days outright. After that, the state may permit you to obtain a restricted license that will only permit you to travel where it’s mandatory, such as going to work or to receive medical care. The consequences of a DUI, even if it’s a first offense, can remain with you for a lengthy period of time.

HOW DO I DEFEND MYSELF AGAINST THESE CHARGES?

You need a lawyer who is familiar with DUI defense strategy. With a free consultation, we’ll be able to review the details of your case with a skilled, experienced, aggressive DUI defense attorney. Improperly calibrated equipment and traffic stops that do not strictly follow protocol can affect the legitimacy of the case against you, and we excel at spotting inconsistencies like those. Call us or use our simple contact form as soon as possible. We’ll be able to help you regain control of your situation.

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