Can You Get A DUI Without Driving In Arizona?

Can You Get A DUI Without Driving In Arizona?

You may have wondered if it's possible to be charged with a DUI if you were not driving at the moment an officer approached you. While it may seem surprising, you could face criminal charges even if you weren't driving your vehicle while intoxicated in Arizona. This concept, often referred to as "DUI" or "actual physical control," can apply in various situations. To be charged with a DUI, the prosecutor must analyze many factors to prove that you were impaired to the slightest degree. This is where a criminal defense attorney can help you better understand your specific charges and help build a strong defense.

If you have been charged with a DUI or actual physical control in Arizona, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney. Attorney Chad Pajerski at Pajerski Law is one of Arizona's few selected board-certified criminal law specialists. This means that Mr. Pajerski upholds a higher standard of effectiveness and commitment than many other defense practices across Arizona.

Our law firm only takes on a limited number of cases at a time to devote full attention to your case. We extend a free consultation to help you navigate your options and comprehend the potential outcomes. Don't let uncertainty deter you – contact us promptly to schedule a free consultation. Let's look at Arizona's actual physical control laws and how law enforcement determines if a driver was physically controlling the vehicle while intoxicated.

Arizona "Actual Physical Control" Laws Explained

Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, and it's essential to be aware of how these laws apply to you. Under ARS § 28-1381, it states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and additionally, it is unlawful to be in "actual physical control" of a vehicle while under the influence. The concept of "actual physical control" expands the scope of DUI laws to encompass situations where someone, despite not actively driving, could still be considered in control of a vehicle while intoxicated. This can lead to a DUI charge with similar penalties as driving under the influence.

Here are some examples of scenarios where "actual physical control" might apply:

  1. Passenger with the Keys: You're passed out in the passenger seat of your car parked outside a bar. The engine is off, but the keys are readily accessible in your pocket. Your impaired state and proximity to the keys could be enough to establish "actual physical control" if an officer finds you.

  1. Slumped at the Wheel: You pull over to the shoulder of the road after feeling dizzy from drinking. You leave the engine running and fall asleep in the driver's seat. Even though you weren't actively driving, your position behind the wheel, combined with the running engine, suggests you could easily resume driving while impaired, putting yourself and others at risk.

  1. Trying to Start the Car: You attempt to start your car despite having consumed alcohol but stumble and struggle due to your intoxication. Even though the car doesn't move, your attempt to operate it while impaired demonstrates "actual physical control."

  1. Helping a Drunk Driver: You offer to "steer" for a friend who is driving under the influence. While not physically behind the wheel, your actions contribute to the dangerous situation, and you could be considered in control alongside your friend.

  1. Unattended Running Vehicle: You leave your car idling while you run into a convenience store to grab a drink. This might seem harmless, but if you return intoxicated and could potentially get back in and drive before sobering up, you could be charged with "actual physical control."

These are just a few examples; the specific details of each situation will determine whether "actual physical control" applies. Remember, the key takeaway is that being intoxicated and having the ability to operate or influence the movement of a vehicle, even if not actively driving, can expose you to DUI charges and serious consequences.

The Shelter Rule: Possible Defense For DUI After Sleeping in Your Car

If you've been charged with a DUI after sleeping in your car in Arizona, a unique legal concept called the "shelter rule" could offer a potential defense. The shelter rule states that you shouldn't be penalized for using your car as a temporary stationary shelter, even if you've consumed alcohol. So, if you sought shelter from extreme heat by sleeping in your parked car, this rule might be applicable, even with the air conditioning running.

But remember, the shelter rule's success depends heavily on the specific facts of your case. Simply utilizing your car as a shelter isn't an automatic shield against DUI charges. Factors like your level of intoxication, whether you were preparing to drive, and potential evidence of intent to operate the vehicle all play a significant role.

Therefore, navigating a DUI charge involving the shelter rule is best tackled with the guidance of a skilled DUI attorney. They can meticulously analyze the details of your situation, determine if the rule applies, and build a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific needs.

This information is intended for general awareness and doesn't replace professional legal counsel. If you face a DUI charge, seeking experienced and qualified legal assistance is crucial. Your attorney can navigate the complexities of the law, ensure your rights are protected, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

For more information about Arizona's DUI laws and the concept of "actual physical control," consulting with a qualified legal professional is crucial. They can provide specific guidance based on your circumstances.


Contact a DUI Attorney in Phoenix

In Arizona, you could face criminal charges even if you weren't driving your vehicle while intoxicated. Remember, impaired driving laws are serious, and even unintentionally putting yourself or others at risk can have significant legal ramifications. Having guidance from one of Arizona's top criminal defense attorneys can make a massive difference in the outcome of your case. Chad Pajerski of Pajerski Law is a seasoned attorney with a proven track record in DUI defense. He can guide you through the legal process and advocate on your behalf with his knowledge and dedication.

If you're in need of a skilled attorney to handle your DUI case in Phoenix or the greater Phoenix area, Chad Pajerski is your trusted partner for expert legal representation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step toward securing your rights and your future.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Pajerski Law's legal team is licensed to practice law in Arizona. We invite you to contact us, but please be aware that contacting us does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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