Can You Get a DUI While Sitting in Your Car?

Can You Get a DUI While Sitting in Your CarThere are a number of circumstances under which you can be arrested and charged with drunk driving in Maryland. You can be charged with a DUI in Maryland even if you are sitting in your car and your car is stopped, idling, or not moving at the time. In such cases, the question that the court will look at is whether you were in actual physical control of your vehicle when the police approached and arrested you.

In the case of Atkinson v. State of Maryland, the Maryland Court of Appeals listed several factors that must be used to determine whether an individual is in actual control of the vehicle at the time.

  • Is the engine running? If the engine is running or if the ignition is on, then it indicates that the driver is in control of the vehicle.
  • What position is the person in? If the motorist is sitting in the driver’s seat, then it means he or she is in control.
  • Is the car key in the ignition? If so, then it is an indication that the driver intended to drive.
  • Are the vehicle’s headlights on? If so, it indicates that the motorist intended to start the vehicle.
  • Is the vehicle parked? If the vehicle is on the roadway, that is an indication that the car was driven to that spot and that the car is being operated by the driver.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving while sitting or sleeping in your car, it is important to understand that you may have several potential defenses. Please contact an experienced Maryland DUI defense lawyer at Alpert Schreyer at (301) 708-2689 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

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