Can they really charge me with if I was arrested for DUI but I wasn't driving and the keys weren't in the ignition? 19 Answers as of January 21, 2014

I was asleep in my car. No keys in the ignition. I’m also a class A driver. I didn't get a blood or breath test.

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Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
If you were charged with DUI then you can really be charged. Fill us in on the remainder of the details. IF you are twenty miles from the nearest human being, and it has snowed, and the police arrive and find you drunk and asleep, unless an alien transported your driver from the vehicle, with no footprints leading away from your vehicle, it is safe to say that you drove to the location. It is into a mystery. The facts and circumstances surrounding how you came to be arrested tell the police you were driving drunk. Maybe someone phoned it in, and revealed that you fell asleep in the vehicle. How about you ask the right question: Are you really denying that you are an alcoholic when you are falling asleep pissy drunk in a car in a public place?
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 1/21/2014
O'Leary Associates, P.A.
O'Leary Associates, P.A. | John A. O'Leary
Obviously you were charged. You need to fight the charge. Not sure why no breath or blood test - unclear facts. Seek representation immediately.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 1/15/2014
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
They can arrest you but convicting you is another matter. Conviction requires they showing that you were operating the vehicle. In most States this means at the least that the keys were in the ignition.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/14/2014
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
Your question requires an attorney consultation. It is not a simple question that can be answered on this type of forum. There are many factors that would need to be considered and evaluated. The main questions are where was your car parked and how did it get there if you were not driving. Also without any blood or breath test, it may be difficult to prove that you were intoxicated. I strongly suggest that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for a face-to-face consultation and give him/her all of the facts surrounding your situation. (S)he would then be in a better position to analyze your case and advise you of your options.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/9/2014
Glisson & Morris | Stan Glisson
Probably not DUI, but similar cases do get charged as physical control under the influence; and the penalties are the same as DUI. Whether the keys are in the ignition or not is not the final answer. You should talk to a lawyer about your case right away, and make sure you contact DOL about any potential license suspensions.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/9/2014
    Robert S. Evans ESQ | Robert S. Evans ESQ
    From the facts as described you have a defense. The problem may be the officer will testify in a different fashion. To protect your rights I suggest you retain a competent criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    They can, via circumstantial evidence, and it will be more serious because it is a refusal. You need to hire a DUI specialist, and do it soon because you have only 10 days to save your license.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    The Law Offices of Harold L. Wallin | Harold L. Wallin
    Yes if the keys were in the vehicle.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Chambers Law Firm
    Chambers Law Firm | Dan E. Chambers
    Yes, you can be arrested. But obtaining a conviction is a different issue. Contact an experienced DUI attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Ginsberg & Associates | Jacob Ginsberg
    Yes they can charge you with a DWI. You need to seek an attorney to represent you in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC | Thomas A. Medford, Jr.
    Generally not but I would urge you to consult an attorney experienced in DUI defense in your local area.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 1/10/2014
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    They can charge you, but you can and must fight it to protect your class a license.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    Yes, you can be charged. That does not mean that a jury will convict you, though. Hire a good lawyer and fight the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/10/2014
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Yes, they can charge you, but the real question is where in the car were you.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Nichols Law Firm
    Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
    They can arrest but a conviction sounds like it would be much more difficult.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Hudson Bair | Hudson Bair
    Yes, you can be charged with DUI, further when you failed to provide a sample of your blood or breath you are likely to be prosecuted for "refusal." You must be lawfully arrested in order to trigger the "implied consent" law which would require you to submit to chemical testing. You may have defenses to the DUI including the fact that you weren't driving, the prosecution has to demonstrate driving, frequently they proceed with circumstantial evidence which may, or may not, be persuasive to a jury.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Attorney & Counselor at Law | Jeffrey B. Hammerlund
    It depends where the car was. If you are asleep and the car is parked in a private driveway no they can not charge you. If you are parked in the middle of a street yes they can.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Robert J. Sayfie, P.C.
    Robert J. Sayfie, P.C. | Robert J. Sayfie
    The prosecutor would have to prove that you were driving, at some point in time, while under the influence of alcohol. For example, if a bartender testifies that he served you 10 shots of vodka between 1 and 2 am, and then the police find you 1 mile away sleeping in the car at 2:30 am, that is evidence that you drove 1 mile after drinking 10 shots. However if you were sleeping in the bar parking lot, with no evidence that you drove, then the prosecution would have no case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/9/2014
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Anybody can be charged with anything. That doesn't mean they can prove your guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. They will have to have some evidence that you were driving either directly or indirectly. Make sure you are represented by an experienced DUI attorney from the area.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/9/2014
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