In Georgia, state law defines driving under the influence (DUI) as driving or in physical control of a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. When a driver is pulled over by a police officer while driving a vehicle, driving or in physical control is easy for the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. But what if a driver is not operating the vehicle, but is found pulled over by the side of the road?
In Atlanta, Georgia, drivers have been found guilty of a DUI while not driving the vehicle. Instead, the accused was found to be in “physical control” of the vehicle. Some of these circumstances are listed below.
Circumstances Where Physical Control Has Been Found
In the below circumstances, you could face DUI charges if you are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs but were not driving the vehicle.
Listening to music. A person that is not driving but is found listening to the car radio may face DUI charges if alcohol or drugs are suspected.
Alone with the keys. A person that is left alone in the vehicle with the keys may face a DUI charge even if the person's friend had been driving.
A reported driver. If an individual is reported by other drivers as driving while intoxicated, he or she may be charged with a DUI even after the person arrives at his or her destination.
Asleep behind the wheel. This is probably the most common circumstance when an individual is charged with a DUI for physical possession. Individuals found by a police officer asleep behind the wheel may face charges for DUI even if he or she is not observed operating the vehicle. This is most likely when the vehicle is operable and the keys are found in the ignition.
Physical Control in Hall County, Georgia
When the individual is not stopped by a police officer while operating a motor vehicle, it is still possible for a court to find the individual was in actual physical control of that vehicle and guilty of a DUI. The court considers any incriminating statements the defendant made, ownership of the vehicle, whether or not the motor was running, and whether or not the individual had the keys to the vehicle. In Atlanta, Georgia, to avoid a charge of DUI, safely park the vehicle, turn off the ignition, and leave the vehicle.
Every Case is Different
While the facts and circumstances of a given case may allow for charges to be filed, this is a far cry from a conviction. In order for the state to obtain a conviction, it must prove each and every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. “Physical control” is an area wherein reasonable folks may differ. Contact an experienced Hall County DUI lawyer to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. From the basis of the stop to the quality of the test result, Hall County DUI lawyer Richard Lawson knows how to challenge the legal issues in DUI cases. Contact us today.