Under Family Code §23152 and 23153, a drive can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. There are certain elements to a DUI case and those elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for a person to have been found guilty of a DUI.
It is possible to get a DUI even if you are parked, and intoxicated, if officers believe that you had driven to that location. If you are charged, you will be administered the same tests and field sobriety tests, as if you were pulled over while driving. The only difference is that officers will have to prove that you were in fact driving while you were intoxicated. This is difficult to prove if you weren’t actually pulled over by the cops. Prosecutors will have to use circumstantial evidence to present their argument.
Let’s consider two different examples to understand the available defenses in a DUI when you were not driving at the time an officer stopped you.
Example 1: Dana is parked in a parking lot and is intoxicated. She is in the parking lot of a bar, and she is in the back seat with the keys in her pocket. She is laid out with her jacket as a blanket and is completely asleep with officers knock on her window. The car engine is off and all the doors and windows are locked. Officers get her out of her car and give her a field sobriety test. Seeing that her blood alcohol level is .12, they arrest her and take her into custody, charging her with a DUI.
Example 2: David is parking in a parking lot of a Vons grocery store. There are no other places around. He is sitting up and asleep in the driver’s seat with the key in the ignition. His windows are open and the music is on. His headlights are also on. Officers arrive and find him in the drivers seat and get him out of the car. David is asked to take a field sobriety test and his blood alcohol level is .12. He is taken into custody, and arrested. He is also charged with a DUI.
The facts in Dana’s case makes it appear like Dana was at a bar and could not drive home, so she slept in the backseat until she was presumably ok to drive. This would be the argument that Dana’s Los Angeles DUI Lawyer would make. On the other hand, David appears to have been driving, and figuring out that he is too intoxicated pulls over and immediately passes out, without even turning his car off.
Whether your case is more like Dana or David, there is plenty of room for subjective argument. Consulting with an experience legal professional can make all the difference in your case. Do not take a chance on arguing it yourself, especially when there is a strong argument to be made in your defense.