It’s Friday night and you are exhausted from a brutal work week but your friends convince you to go out for food and drinks. Tired and not enthusiastic about going out, you offer to drive because you know you aren’t in the mood to drink. During the night, though, your plans change and you begin to drink. As the night draws to a close, your friends leave to go home in their respective Ubers. You hop in your car and drive a few blocks before pulling over when you realize you are too drunk to safely drive.
The answer is no. You can still be charged with a DUI. Florida law says a driver is someone who has “actual physical control of the vehicle within this state” and the person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Actual physical control of a vehicle does not mean you have to be driving the vehicle. For example, where are your keys? Do you have control of them? Could you use them? Is your car turned on? Could you be driving it?
Consider this incident from the police officer’s perspective. If you are drunk in your car, the officer could infer you drove somewhere. He or she could also believe you were about to continue to drive. Additionally, a police officer can question you on how your car arrived at its current location and can note you are alone in the car, meaning there is no other potential driver.
Your best bet? Don’t drive. In fact, don’t even get into your car. While getting home may have been an issue in previous years as many taxi services ceased operations late at night, Uber, Lyft and other instant car services make getting home safely far more convenient. Worried about your car getting towed? Be sure to park in a public area where overnight parking is allowed and free before you go out. If it does happen to get towed, know the towing fee is minuscule compared to the effect of a DUI on your record.
Do you have other questions? Do not wait to talk to a member of our experienced legal team for free about your case. There is too much at stake not to do so.