Can someone legally be charged with a DUI if they are sitting in their car in the parking lot and the keys are on the floor? 3 Answers as of June 10, 2011

Can someone legally be charged with a DUI if they are sitting in their car in the parking lot of where they are staying and the keys are on the floor? What are the chances of beating the charge? This is in Eugene.

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Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
You may be charged for DUII for the situation you described. Lately in Oregon, these types of cases have been labeled an "attempted DUII," which doesn't exist in the statutes, but is being explored in Oregon case law. The factual scenario you describe may be a good case for trial, where the jury will be asked to hold the prosecutor to the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The state would have to prove that you operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants. If the jury finds that sitting in the car with the keys on the floor is not "operating" a motor vehicle, then you may be found not guilty. I highly recommend you consult with an attorney experienced in DUII law.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/10/2011
Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
In Oregon, the crime is "driving under the influence" not "parking under the influence." The state must prove that you were driving and while driving, you had a BAC of something more than .08 or were "impaired" by alcohol. So let's say you were drinking at a bar, left the bar, realized you were too drunk to drive and sat in your car to "sleep it off." You're not committing DUII as long as you haven't moved the car. Change the facts and you leave the bar, drive a block and then realize you have no business driving, then you have committed DUII, but the state still has to prove it. As long as you didn't make any statements regarding driving after drinking, you have a pretty good shot. The state will still argue that the car got there somehow and you were drunk when that happened but they may not have the evidence to back up that speculation.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/9/2011
Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
Charged? Sure. You can be charged, or formally accused of a crime, with very little reason. Sitting in your car, drunk, when the keys aren't in the ignition and the car is not moving is not 'driving,' so it's not DUI. If the jury believes that's all that happened, you'll be acquitted. If the jury thinks that you got drunk in a bar, drove to the parking lot, and fell asleep there, you'll be convicted. It depends on exactly what the evidence is.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/8/2011
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