It seems crazy. After all, the “D” in DUI stands for driving. But you can still get a DUI even if your car is in park. You may wish to think twice before “sleeping it off” in your car or even going to your car to listen to music if you’ve been drinking. Doing so can put at risk for criminal charges.
Are you in control?
Florida’s DUI laws state that a person can be charged with driving under the influence if they are driving or if they have actual physical control of the vehicle. The “actual physical control” piece of the statute is what can get you into trouble if you’re not actually driving your car.
What does actual physical control mean? For the most part, it seems dependent on how easy it would be for you to drive away. If you’re sitting in the car with the engine running or if you have the keys in the ignition to listen to your stereo, the state may be able to make a case that you had physical control. If your keys are in the glove box, things get a little shakier. If you left your keys at the bar or if they are not on your person, the state’s case gets weaker still.
While you may be doing the responsible thing by not driving after drinking, the police may not see things this way. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you have rights and defenses to DUI charges are available. You should always discuss your options with a skilled legal professional.