Can I get a DUI for being in a parked vehicle with the engine on? 63 Answers as of July 09, 2013

I just got a DUI and a driving on a suspended license. This is my first time offense. What should I expect? The car was parked yet running.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
The Law Office of Cindy Barton
The Law Office of Cindy Barton | Cindy Barton
The law considers you to be "driving" if you are in actual physical control of the vehicle.You were in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition.That is in control.If it is your first offense, I don't understand why your license was revoked.There may be a different definition of driving for driving on a suspended license.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 9/8/2011
Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC
Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC | Thomas A. Medford, Jr.
From the information you have provided your car could have been driven by you and generally the law can consider that operating a vehicle. I would anticipate that the prosecutors would require a plea to the DUI with a fine, suspended jail sentence and enrollment in an alcohol treatment program.
Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
Replied: 9/2/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
You are guilty of DWI if you were intoxicated and behind the wheel of a vehicle on a public highway with the keys in the ignition. That is considered "operation" the vehicle and if you had more that a .02 BAC you can be charged with Impaired Operation. If you blow over a .08 you are presumed to be intoxicated.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/2/2011
Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
All NY requires is that the key be in the ignition... DUI charges are very serious, I'd suggest getting legal representation as soon as possible...
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/1/2011
Ramsell & Associates LLC
Ramsell & Associates LLC | Donald Ramsell
In Illinois, a person can be arrested for DUI if the car is parked, so long as the person is still in 'actual physical control' of that vehicle.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/1/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Get an attorney there are cases that say tht a running engine could constitute operation of a motor vehicle. The facts are important. Get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    You have to 'operate' the vehicle. Running but not in gear is probably not enough. You need to talk to a lawyer about it; if you can't afford to hire one, the court will appoint one.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    The government may well attempt to convict someone who was in a vehicle with the engine running and the government believes the person was impaired or had a BAC higher than allowed. In order to attack this charge you should hire a defense attorney ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Martin Law Offices, PLLC
    Martin Law Offices, PLLC | Matthew T. Martin
    Yes, you may be charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol if you were in a parked car with the engine running. Essentially, the state will claim that you were exercising physical control over the motor vehicle. In Minnesota, and assuming no aggravating factors, a first-time DWI is a Misdemeanor. A misdemeanor may be punishable by 90 days in jail and a $1,000. It will also trigger collateral consequences, such as driver's license revocation for 90 days. What to expect is dependent upon the fact and circumstance of the incident. I suggest you take advantage of a free case evaluation for a local criminal defense lawyer. This will give you the opportunity to speak freely about what happened and give you a better understanding of what lay ahead.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    DUI probable cause only requires actual physical control. There are some bad cases on this issue, but mostly for DMV actions. Jurors often look at the reason why the engine was on and you were in it. If you did not intend to drive and were using the car for temporary shelter, we often win at trial. But, we often lose at DMV. Have a good DUI attorney review your case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You can be charged with being drunk in possession carries the same penalty as DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    DUI laws in Kansas apply to anyone who "operates or attempts to operate" a motor vehicle. Sitting in a running vehicle can be the basis for a DUI charge. This may be very fact specific, so I would advise you to consult with an experienced DUI attorney to protect your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Yes you can. But yes, you may have a valid defense. The cases are mixed on this, and it will depend on the facts in your case. The best advice is to hire an attorney to review the facts and to develop a defense to the charges. You may be pleased if it results in a dismissal of the criminal charges. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC | Jeffery A. Cojocar
    Yes you can.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/9/2013
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Yes-the key is to have the keys removed from the ignition.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/9/2013
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    You could charged; it does not mean that they have the proofs to convict you necessarily. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecuting attorney would need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Speaking generally, a running engine would be circumstantial evidence that a driver was operating a motor vehicle. However, whether the evidence is admissible depends on a litany of factors. I'd recommend you retain an attorney to assist you. You may not guilty of any offense or any actually guilty of a lesser offense. If you cannot afford to retain council, the court will appoint an attorney on your behalf.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Operation of a vehicle for DWI purposes includes the keys in the ignition and you in the driver's seat, EVEN IF the vehicle is not running.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Believe it or not a DA an convict you if they can prove you drove to that particular location and you had consumed alcohol to the point in which your driving is impaired or our blood alcohol level is at a 0.08%. Also, you can be convicted of attempted driving under the influence if the DA can show you took a substantial step toward commuting the crime of DUI in your case, the engine was running and you were sitting in the driver's seat. Without any other facts, it seems as if the charge is valid.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    Yes you can. What you can expect depends on where you are located and the state prosecutor
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If the car was running then you still had the ability to control the car and can be charged with DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
    If you were behind the wheel yes.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC | Lori C. Obenauf
    Yes, you can be charged with DUI in these circumstances. Please obtain an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to evaluate the particular facts of your case and determine your best course of action. The penalties for DUI, even a first offense, can be quite serious.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    In Oregon, DUII stands for "driving while intoxicated," in other words, the state must prove you were driving the car at some point while you were intoxicated. Thus, if you got into the car after drinking and turned it on with maybe the intention of taking a nap, you wouldn't necessarily be liable for DUII. On the other hand if you got into the car, drove a block and then decided to pull over for whatever reason, you would be liable for DUII (assuming of course that the state could prove you drove).
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    The optimal question is whether or not you were in control of the vehicle at the time in question and whether or not it was on a roadway as defined by the Traffic Code. If you were parked on a side road, or some parking location adjacent to the road, with the keys in the ignition, you are likely in control and therefore that part of the equation goes against you. If you were in a private parking lot, driveway, etc. . . at least you have a good defense, but the question is how did you get to that location, did you drive?
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    If you were in control of the vehicle you can be charged with OWI.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    The Law Firm of David Jolly
    The Law Firm of David Jolly | David Jolly
    If no-one actually sees you drive (and they cannot prove the car had been driven by you) the answer is no. However, in Washington State there is another crime that look, feels and smells like a DUI. That crime is Physical Control and has all the nastiness of a DUI. You can definitely be charged with that. However, there still may be an issue that can help you - why were you contacted? The officer needs a lawful reason to contact you, if not, case dismissed. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Yes it is called being in "physical control." There is a defense to this however called "safely off the roadway." It depends on the facts of the case. You need to get a lawyer who has experience with DUI cases. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Yes, according to the law, a car is being "operated" if someone is in the vehicle and the key is in the ignition. Even if the engine is not started but the key is in the ignition, the law deems the car as being operated for the purpose of the statute. Hire a good criminal defense attorney, like myself, who specializes in DUI/OUI/DWI cases.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    It depends on where you are parked at. If you are parked in a public parking lot or a place where it can be reasonably inferred that you could only have gotten there by driving on a public road, i.e. the side of the road, then yes they can. If it's in a place like your driveway or garage then the answer is probably no. Hire an experienced DUI attorney because the stakes are too high and the system is too complex to do it alone. At least have a DUI lawyer reveiw the report for any errors that could get the charges reduced or dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    If the key is in the ignition, you are in control of the vehicle and can be cited for DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    There is a case on point that is hurtful in this type of case, but the case is absolutely defensible. You need to hire a good lawyer. (The question is one of "operating". If a jury does not think you were operating the vehicle, then you are not guilty. You got the DWLI because of their desire to charge you with DWI.)
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Yes you can. It is called the in control of the vehicle law. The officer's still need a reasonable suspicion to approach you and ask you to test.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    It is very common for a person to be charged with DWI in this situation. First of all, you need to hire an attorney. The attorney can determine whether there is any legal defense to the charge against you. If not, the attorney can negotiate a plea bargain which might avoid a conviction being entered upon your record.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    The fact that you were seated in a parked car with the engine running is enough to say circumstantially that you were driving earlier. If there is evidence of impairment or a blood alcohol level above .08 then you could be convicted of a DUI.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Sitting in a parked car with the engine on is probable cause for a DUI. For a first time DUI you can expect; PROBATION: 3-to-5 Years Informal Probation JAIL: 48-hours and up to 6 months jail time may be imposed COURT FINES: Minimum $390.00 fine to maximum of $1000.00Note, however that the $390.00 minimum fine, after adding penalty assessments and miscellaneous court fees, results in a total amount due of approximately $1400.00-to-$1800.00. DUI SCHOOL : Attendance at First Offender Program (FOP) Required BAC = .153-month FOP BAC .15 to .196-month FOP BAC = .209-month FOP COURT MAY ALSO ORDER: Impound Vehicle up to 30-days if owned by defendant Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for up to 3-years INCREASED PENALTIES FOR DUI ENHANCEMENTS: Refusal An additional 48-hours of Jail Passenger in Vehicle Under Age 14Additional 48-hours of Jail Speeding = 30 mph on Freeway or = 20 mph on Street or Highway Additional 60-days Jail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Even if you aren't operating the vehicle, if you are in "physical control" of it, you can still be convicted of DWI. Parked with the vehicle running is deemed to be in physical control. In most jurisdictions, on a first offense, you are looking at a fine, probation, and a chemical evaluation with its recommendations, along with a license suspension.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Offices of Carl Spector
    Law Offices of Carl Spector | Carl Spector
    Yes you can be charged and prosecuted for a DWI in New York and New Jersey if you are parked with the engine on. The issue is whether you are "operating" the motor vehicle and the law states that under those circumstances you are. There may be other issues in your case that would make it worth fighting so make sure you have a lawyer look over your case. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Legally a "moving" car is required, but they may rely on circumstantial evidence to show that you drove the car to that place while intoxicated. Contact a DUI specialist. You have a good defensible case with a potential "no drive" defense. But without a lawyer, you won't go anywhere except get a DUI. And don't forget the DMV, which has to contacted within 10 days of your arrest in order to save your driver's license.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You most certainly can be charged with these offenses. In Illinois, being behind the wheel, with the engine running, or the keys in the ignition, ANYWHERE, is sufficient to charge you. You definitely need a lawyer to represent you right from the beginning. Not knowing the evidence, it is difficult to say what will happen in court, but as a first time offender, there is a decent chance of getting supervision. You should not do this yourself, bring a lawyer with you, and your chances improve markedly.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    DUI requires driving under the influence. "Driving" is a volitional movement of the vehicle. Although merely sitting with the engine running isn't enough, the DA will try to prove through circumstantial evidence that you were in fact driving the vehicle before the officer got there.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
    If you were over the legal limit the D.A. will try to prove you guilty by circumstantial evidence, such as was anyone else in the car? Were there empty alcohol containers in or around the car? Any statements you made to the arresting officer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Hieu Vu
    Law Office of Hieu Vu | Hieu N Vu
    They will be saying you were operating the vehicle. Your case is interesting because part of an officer's training in collecting evidence for a DUI is a driving pattern. Here as you are sitting inside your car, there is no driving. This will make it more difficult because there is the regular indicia of DUI are not present. IE: weaving, wide turns, driving with face close to the windshield. Your disposition of the case will depend on your the facts. I would like to know more facts about your case. It's a shameless self promotion, but I would consult with an attorney like myself. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law | Jason Overton
    Yes, you can get a DUI in a parked car. In fact, the car doesn't even need to be running. In Alabama, the determining factor is "control" of the vehicle. You need to hire an attorney. A DUI has serious and far-reaching consequences, and an attorney may know of options that would reduce these consequences. You need to hire one soon, because some of these options may be time-limited.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    Yes. Even without the engine running. It is called "actual physical control". Even standing outside your car with the keys in your pocket the State can argue you were going to drive and therefore you are guilty. Not many jurors would convict you for that but theoretically the State can proceed in prosecuting you for DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Yes. The statute prohibits operating a vehicle while intoxicated, not driving. Being in a car with the engine on is operation under the law. Retain a criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    Yes, you can be charged with a DWI for being what's call "in physical control" of the car. This means that you are seated behind the steering wheel and have the ability to put the car in motion. The physical control DWI law is designed to prevent a drunk driver, who has stopped his car and pulled over to the side of the road, from continuing to drive drunk. This will be a 4th degree misdemeanor DWI charge with 0 to 90 days jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00. Probation could be for up to 2 years and your license can be revoked for up to 90 days.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Perhaps the office saw you driving and followed you... or perhaps someone else saw you driving and reported your driving to the police, who subsequently found, even if the car is parked and the engine is running, there may be sufficient facts to charge DUI. If he did not see you driving but came upon you with the engine running and you were intoxicated, then you will be charged with physical control. There are lots of factors that may complicate your situation. You need to consult with an attorney. A DUI is a serious charge up to one year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine, plus loss of license. There is mandatory jail time and fines, depending upon the facts of the case. Once again, I advise you to seek out an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Yes. A DWI can be charged if the occupant of the vehicle has the ability to operate it. Operation means manipulation of the automobile controls. It is not necessary that the vehicle is in motion.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Sorry to say that yes you can be convicted of a DUI with the car parked but the engine running. You could face up to 60 days in jail and lose of your license for 1 year on a first offense.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You should expect the prosecutor and judge to view the incident you described as a DUI. I recommend that you retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Offices of David L. Smith
    Law Offices of David L. Smith | David Lee Smith
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/9/2013
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If you were behind the wheel you will get convicted of a DUI. However, if a sober friend was driving and went to get help or gas or something and you just slid behind the wheel for more comfort you have an argument (though not a very good one). Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    You can be charged with Physical Control even if the car is parked. Physical Control carries the same penalties as DUI. The prosecutor does not have to prove that you acutally drove.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    You will probably be charged with being in the actual control of a vehicle while under the influence. It's the same as DUI in terms of penalties. The only way to be drunk in a vehicle legally is if the vehicle is turned off; the keys are in no way accessible to the drunk person and the vehicle is safely off the roadway. You can find the penalties for a first-time DUI by visiting the Washington State Department of Licensing's web site.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Russman Law
    Russman Law | Ryan Russman
    It depend on the specific facts of your case. The NH court has ruled under State v. Willard that drivers can use shelter defense.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN | Michael Bialys
    The big question is was their anyone to witness/evidence your driving.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/9/2013
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi | Elliott Zarabi
    You can get a DUI because the engine was running. However, you do have mitigating circumstances .
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    Often you can be charged for being in control of the vehicle even if not driving at that point. If convicted, you can expect fines, alcohol program, license suspension, and possibly jail time or work release. The severity of the sentence can depend on many factors such as the BAC, other offenses, the county you are in, etc. You may have a defensible case, but you need to speak to an attorney about the specific facts of your matter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes, case law has interpreted this as operating the vehicle. You need to hire a defense attorney ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Nichols Law Firm
    Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
    If the vehicle is parked and in park that is not "operating" under Michigan law. The police can charge under a theory that you had "operated" while intoxicated.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/30/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney

Need more information on drunk driving law? Visit our free DUI resource page to learn more.

If you need immediate assistance, fill out a free case evaluation form to connect with a DUI lawyer in your area today!