Is Not Driving a Defense in a Los Angeles DUI Case?

There are a number of defenses available in a Los Angeles DUI case, one of them being that you were not driving. In order to be guilty of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, prosecutors have to prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt; 1) that you were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and 2) that you were driving. Proving one or the other is not sufficient. You can be intoxicated and not driving, and you cannot be charged with a DUI. Likewise, you can be driving and not under the influence, and cannot be charged with a DUI. Both elements must be present, beyond a reasonable doubt.

Generally, it is easy to prove that you were driving. Most of the time someone is driving, and commits a traffic violation. That is the reason they are stopped. But officers observe you driving, and operating the vehicle, when they stop you, so that element is easily proven.

However, in some cases it is not that easy. Let’s consider an example. Danny has gone out to a friend’s birthday at a bar. He drives there and parks his car in the parking lot. The party goes on longer than expected and at the end of the night, Danny has had a drink more than he planned. He makes the decision that he is not able to drive home. He goes to his car and decides to sleep it off, crawling into the back seat with the keys in his pocket, he passes out. He wakes up to officers knocking on his car window. If Danny is arrested for a DUI, his Los Angeles DUI Lawyer will present a strong case that he was never driving. He will likely present a strong argument that Danny was asleep in the back seat, keys were in his pocket, the receipt to the bar was right where he was parked, not implying he drove anywhere. This will be a weak case for prosecutors, and they must fully prove the element of driving beyond a reasonable doubt. Otherwise, they cannot find Danny guilty.

In contrast, let’s consider Dina as an example. Dina is at a party and had more than she should drink. She starts to drive home, and gets on the freeway. She realizes quickly that perhaps she is not in a good state and pulls over to the side of the road and falls asleep in the back seat. Dina’s case is a little bit more complicated, and not as easily proven that she was not driving. Dina had to drive to the place where she pulled over. She was not in a parking lot outside of the bar where she was, she had to have driving to get on the freeway and pull over. This implies driving, this is something Dina’s attorney will have to get over.

In any scenario, driving is a significant element in a DUI case. An experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney has the experience and skills necessary to ensure you get the best possible argument for your case. Don’t hesitate, contact our office today for a free consultation!