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Why am I Charged with a Los Angeles DUI if I Was Not Driving?

If you have been charged with a Los Angeles DUI, you have not yet been convicted. If you have been arrested, you have not yet been convicted. It merely means that there is probable cause for officers to believe that you are guilty of driving while under the influence.

For someone to be convicted for a DUI, the prosecutors must prove that the driver was in fact driving beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the driver was intoxicated while driving. The prosecutor must prove both elements, not just one or the other.

This does not mean that you cannot be charged with a DUI, if you weren’t driving. You may still be charged with a DUI if officers have a reason to believe that you were, at some point, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To better understand this concept, lets consider some examples.

Example 1: Danny is sleeping in his car. His car is parked in front of a bar, and he is asleep in the backseat with the keys in his pocket. There is a receipt in his pocket showing that he had purchased drinks throughout the night, including one about 10 minutes prior to officers finding him. These drinks were purchased from the bar he is parked in front of . His blood alcohol level is at .12, which is high. There is no one else in the car.

Example 2: David is sleeping in his car. He is asleep in the driver seat with the keys in the ignition. His car is parked on the side of the highway. There is nothing around except for the highway and the trees along the highway. David’s blood alcohol is high about .12.

Now let’s compare the two. In both examples, neither person was driving, and both were asleep in their car. Because neither person was driving, the prosecutor will have to build a case for driving using the facts surrounding the situation. Danny will have a much stronger case against a DUI than David. This is because it appears, and the facts support, an argument that Danny never drove his car after he had drank. It paints the picture that he probably went to the bar, drank too much, then made the decision to sleep in his car rather than drive in his intoxicated state. David on the other hand, cannot make that argument. He would have had to drive his car to get to where he was. His facts indicate that he drank, drove and decided to pull over and sleep. He could possibly argue that someone else was driving, and not him, but the facts do not support that contention.

Driving is not always a straightforward element to prove and allows room for argument. If you find yourself in this situation you owe it to yourself to consult with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney so that you can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case. This could potentially lead to a dismissal.