Can I Get a DUI If I’m Not Actually Driving My Car?
In Mississippi, the situations in which you could be charged with DUI may surprise you. You can get a DUI even if you were outside of the car, sleeping in the car, or had parked the car in a parking lot – and the car wasn’t running. The law enforcement officer should have probable cause that you were driving while intoxicated though.
Therefore, do not simply assume that you need to be actually driving your vehicle to get arrested for DUI. To protect your rights, it is best to consult with an experienced DUI attorney in Mississippi immediately following your arrest.
DUI for Sleeping in the Car
The road to heaven is paved with good intentions. You chose not to drive and instead sleep it off. Unfortunately, you picked the driver’s seat for your slumber. An officer may find it reasonable to assume that you have an intention to drive the vehicle in your present state. They may assume that you passed out while trying to start the vehicle instead of choosing to sleep it off.
Generally, this type of DUI is when someone else reports to the police. You have a good chance of winning a case dismissal in court with a reasonable doubt and lack of evidence defense if the police officer did not actually see you drive.
According to state law, you can be arrested in Mississippi for sleeping in the car. This is regardless of whether you have the keys in the ignition or not. The law determines that you are in control of the vehicle if the keys are inside the car. Legally, this means that the keys don’t necessarily need to be in the ignition for you to be charged with DUI.
Fortunately, there are several possible legal technicalities with this type of DUI offense. This means that a skilled attorney should be able to find several probable parked car defenses to have the charges thrown out of court or dropped against you.
Having Car Keys in the Ignition
In the eyes of the law, if you have keys in the ignition, you probably got inside the car with an intention to drive. The best legal defense in this case would be to challenge the arresting officer’s predetermined DUI bias and police report technicalities.
An officer can arrest you even if you moved out of the driver’s seat. Maybe you thought of driving but changed your mind and decided to sleep it off instead.
An officer may make a reasonable assumption that you had every intention of driving if you leave the keys in the ignition or the headlights on. They may cite you for a DUI.
These charges or arrests may occur even when a person is parked at a late-night drive-thru. An increasing number of police officers on late-night DUI patrol are stationed at drive-thru parking lots looking for intoxicated individuals.
Importantly, a DUI charge without any proof of driving can be used as a defense following an early arrest review. The police need to prove that you had an intent to drive or were already driving beyond a reasonable doubt. This is not always easy for the prosecution as long as you have a skilled DUI defense attorney on your side to put forward a strong defense.
Defense Against DUI Arrest When Not Actually Driving the Vehicle in Mississippi
There are several defenses that a DUI attorney can use when you are arrested outside the car. But defending yourself in a situation like this can be difficult depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. You may need to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the complexities involved in such DUI cases.
DUI convictions can create long-term negative consequences even as a first offense. You run the risk of having a permanent criminal record and may even have to serve jail time.
Additional consequences involve paying court fees and fines. A DUI on your record may affect employment, family, or your current housing situation. You will also have to face the stigma of having a criminal record and being someone with a “drinking problem.”
The court will look at all extenuating circumstances of your arrest, including where your vehicle was, where you were, whether you had the keys on you and if the arresting officer saw you drive the vehicle. These factors are considered by a judge when deciding on a DUI conviction.
Pertaining to this, you should never feel that you are without options even if you were lawfully arrested for driving while under the influence. You need a defense strategy that understands the odds and fights back against the arrest and charges.
An attorney, who has been through the legal trenches before, can improve your chances of not having to suffer the long-term harsh consequences of a DUI conviction.
Get an Experienced DUI Attorney in Mississippi on Your Side
Being convicted for DUI when you weren’t actually driving can seem unfair. However, the law in Mississippi allows for such charges to be brought. The skilled legal defense team at Smith Murphy Law has defended numerous clients facing serious DUI charges.
Our lawyers will put up a strong defense strategy that is geared toward having your charges dropped or reduced to the minimum possible offense under the circumstances. We know Mississippi and how the Municipal and Justice courts work. We routinely help our clients get all charges dropped and/or significantly reduced; due simply to hard work, attention to detail, and just caring about doing a good job for people.
Schedule your free and confidential consultation with us today. Call (662) 832.7879 or write to us online.