/ 5.10.24

Can You Get a DUI Without Driving?

Written by: Doug Ridley

What Actions Constitute a DUI Charge in California

Facing a DUI charge can be a frightening experience. While many motorists believe they can’t be charged with driving under the influence unless they are caught driving, they may be surprised to learn that is simply not the case. This article explains how you can get a DUI without actually driving your vehicle and explains what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need to take immediate steps to protect yourself. Contact the experienced and dedicated legal team at Ridley Defense. Call (805) 208-1866 to speak to one of our qualified DUI defense attorneys in Ventura for FREE.

Driving Under the Influence in California

DUI, which stands for “driving under the influence,” typically implies the driver was operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other controlled substances. However, the legal definition of "driving" can extend beyond just physically driving a vehicle. In California, you can be charged with a DUI even if your vehicle is not in motion. 

Under What Circumstances Can You Be Charged with a DUI?

Driving under the influence doesn’t necessarily mean operating your vehicle while intoxicated. The key factor in determining whether a DUI charge is warranted comes down to whether you have "actual physical control" of your vehicle at the time. Being in physical control means that you are able to operate the vehicle, even if it is stationary. This means that law enforcement can charge you with a DUI in any of the following situations: 

  • You are sitting in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition, whether or not your vehicle’s engine is running.
  • You are found near your vehicle while intoxicated, with the intention to drive.
  • You are asleep or unconscious in the driver's seat, indicating the potential to drive your car once you are awake.

It is important to understand that DUI charges can extend well beyond traditional notions of driving. That is why it is essential to exercise responsible behavior while under the influence.

DUIs Can Apply to Other Modes of Transportation

Driving under the influence doesn’t solely apply to cars. In California, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI if you are found to have operated, intended to operate, or had the ability to operate boats, motorcycles, bicycles, electric bicycles, and even scooters or e-scooters while under the influence. The focus is on the impairment of the person in control and not the type of vehicle.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with DUI

If you find yourself facing a DUI charge without actually driving, it's crucial to take immediate and informed steps to navigate the legal process. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Cooperate with the Police

Remaining calm and cooperative when you are approached by law enforcement. Be respectful, and do not argue or resist arrest, as this can exacerbate the situation. 

Remain Silent

Give your name and contact information to the officer, but respectfully inform them you wish to remain silent. Do not divulge any other information, as anything you say can and will be used against you.

Ask for an Attorney

As soon as possible, consult with a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling DUI cases. A qualified attorney can guide you through the legal process, explain your rights, and build a defense strategy aimed at getting you the best result possible.

Understand the Charges

Work closely with your DUI attorney to understand the specific charges against you. Knowing the details of the case will help in building a solid defense strategy. Determine whether the D.A. has evidence of actual physical control and/or if any of your constitutional rights were violated before, during, or after your arrest.

Think About Your Options

Your attorney will review all of your options, including those that can help you avoid a charge, lessen a charge, or minimize the penalties associated with a conviction.

Attend Court Proceedings

Failing to appear in court can worsen the outcome of your case. Your DUI defense attorney will guide you on how to conduct yourself in court and how to represent your interests.

Contact Ridley Defense Today to Learn More

Getting a DUI without driving your vehicle may seem perplexing. However, a California DUI encompasses much more than simply operating your car. Understanding the idea of "actual physical control" is crucial in these cases. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, the key is to stay calm, speak to a lawyer right away, and actively participate in your defense. 

At Ridley Defense, our qualified criminal defense attorneys will guide you through the legal process, immediately act to ensure your rights are protected and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact our office today online or call (805) 208-1866 to arrange your complimentary case review.

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