Fresno drunk driving defense: A parked vehicle isn't enough to prevent a DUI charge

Feb 04, 2015

After a DUI arrest, one question that might come up as part of your drunk driving defense is whether or not you were driving your vehicle. If DUI means "Driving Under the Influence," what happens if police find you a parked vehicle?

One recent example took place in Madera, near Fresno, and involved a man who fell asleep in a drive-thru lane. According to local news reports, police arrested him, even though at the time of his arrest his car wasn't moving.

In this case, people might argue that he still got arrested because of evidence that he had been driving just previously. It was apparently the second time he had gone into the drive-thru lane. In general, when deciding whether or not to arrest you, the considerations police officers make if they find you in a parked vehicle include the following:

  • Is there evidence that you recently drove the car?
  • Is the engine still running or warm?
  • Is the key still in the ignition, with you sitting in the driver's seat?

Even if no one saw you driving, the courts can try arguing that you were attempting to drive under the influence, especially if they think the car was ready to go, with you in the driver's seat. (And depending on the circumstances, you might also face other charges, such as carrying an open container of alcohol in the car.)

An important part of your defense in this kind of situation will involve questioning the assumption that you were actually driving under the influence. For example, even if the your car's engine was still warm, and police found you intoxicated in the vehicle, it's possible that another person had driven the car and then left. You might have remained in the vehicle on your own, but you didn't drive it.

What's actually the evidence that you drove the vehicle while intoxicated?  Don't hesitate to contact us to come up with a powerful defense for your DUI charge.

Category: DUI Defense

Michael Mitchell


Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.