Many drivers assume that they can only be charged with driving under the influence if their vehicle is in motion. This is true in some states. However, it may come as a shock that the police can arrest you if you’re caught “sleeping it off” while drunk or high in Georgia. This is often called a “parked car DUI”. If this happens to you, you need to get in touch with an Atlanta DUI lawyer.
A DUI case in Georgia has two elements. First, you must be driving or operating a vehicle. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean you have to be on the road driving. You could be in a parking lot with the key in the ignition or in your hand. The second element is that you must be under the influence of drugs, alcohol, inhalants, or a combination of these. If an officer determines that both of these elements are present, they can charge you.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the court will convict you. A car accident lawyer can use a range of defenses to get the charges dropped. In this article, we’ll look at some of the considerations in these types of cases. As a reminder, you are guilty of a DUI if you have a blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or higher. You can also be charged if an officer determines that your ability to drive safely is impaired by drugs or alcohol regardless of what your BAC is.
Notably, it is unlawful to have a blood alcohol concentration that’s over the legal limit within three hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle. Therefore, if there is evidence this happened, you could be successfully prosecuted.
How Will the State Prove I Was in Physical Control?
You may assume you’re doing the right thing by parking your vehicle if you’re intoxicated. This is certainly the safest thing to do. Going on the road while impaired is dangerous for both you and other road users. However, depending on the circumstances, you may still face a criminal charge. The assumption is that even though the arresting officer didn’t see you drive, you drove while intoxicated to reach the location they found you or you were about to drive. The prosecution doesn’t have to prove that you committed an unsafe act or that someone saw you driving.
Rather, the courts have accepted several types of circumstantial evidence including:
- Keys in the ignition
- Warm tires or a warm hood suggesting the car was recently driven
- Physical damage to a vehicle which is parked near an accident scene
- A car parked in the middle of the road or at the side but not in a parking space
- A car in drive rather than park
Fighting a DUI Charge in Georgia If Your Vehicle Was Parked
The first thing Atlanta DUI lawyers do is review all the information surrounding their client’s arrest. It is only when they know the facts that they can devise the appropriate legal strategy. Given all the consequences associated with a DUI, they will do everything they can to get the charges dropped or reduced. It may be difficult to fight the charge depending on the circumstances. However, working with a competent lawyer from the start can help. Often, these cases hinge on legal technicalities.
Some of the more common challenges surround:
- The circumstances in which the officer approached the vehicle
- The administration of the breath test
- The collection of the blood test or urine test
- The validity of the test results
- Whether the equipment used in the tests was working properly
- Whether the driver was really in physical control of the car
Contact Howard & Arca DUI Lawyers Today for a Case Review
It may be concerning that you could get in trouble for parking your vehicle when you don’t think you can drive safely. However, pulling over is still safer than driving if you’re impaired by alcohol or drugs. Even if you get arrested for a DUI, all hope is not lost. Whether you were parked or moving, a lawyer can help you to beat a DUI charge. You should contact one at the earliest opportunity so they can prepare for court. Many people who are accused of DUIs panic and plead guilty, but you need to know you have options. If you want to secure the best outcome, contact the Atlanta DUI attorneys at Howard & Arca DUI Lawyers.