Thomas & Paulk, P.A. Articles Factors You Probably Didn’t Know About DUI

Factors You Probably Didn’t Know About DUI

By Thomas & Paulk  Sep. 18, 2012 5:55p

When you hear the word 'DUI' you probably think of a flash of red and blue behind you, a cop pulling you over and a breathalyzer test that reveals your blood alcohol content level is 0.08 or higher. While these are normally the events that lead up to a DUI charge, there are other ways that a person can be accused of driving while under the influence that might surprise you.

You Can Get Charged with a DUI If You Weren't Driving a Car

Besides getting a DUI charge while driving a car, you can be charged with drunk driving while operating a tractor, bicycle (even walking a bicycle!), tricycle, horse, zamboni, skateboard, steamroller, buggy, ATV, holiday float, go-cart, tank, wheelchair, helicopter, lawnmower, golf cart, moped, scooter, wheelchair- even a dolphin. In England two drunk individuals tried to "ride home" on a dolphin and were subsequently charged with DUI. In Spain, a disabled man was arrested for drunk driving after driving his motorized bed down the road.

In DUI cases, it doesn't matter so much what you are driving as it matters how fast you are going, if you are operating a vehicle on a public road, and if you operating any moving object could result in harm to yourself or another.

You Can Get Charged with a DUI If Your Keys Weren't in the Ignition

In New Jersey, a man was charged with DUI after he was discovered passed out on the side of the road in his truck. When police discovered the man possessed cocaine, he was charged with a DUI with drugs. In Tampa, Florida, police found an intoxicated 37 year old man and his 17 year old son sitting inside of a vehicle in a parking lot. The man failed a field sobriety test and was charged with DUI and aggravated child abuse. A camper in New Jersey was charged with DUI after being found in the back of his pickup at a campsite.

One Minnesota man got a felony conviction and earned 48 months in custody and five years of probation- even though his car was not running. The man was found asleep in his car, with the driver side door open, by police officers. The keys were in the center console, the engine was cold and he hadn't even been listening to the radio- and yet had consumed twelve beers beforehand and had a BAC level of .18.

You Can Get Charged On Suspicion of DUI

A North Carolina woman was arrested at a fast food restaurant after she was found behind the wheel, with the engine running. In Alaska, a man stuck in a snowdrift who had a BAC level over .08 was charged with DUI and a man in Canada who was pushing his vehicle, failed a field sobriety test and was charged with DUI. In one instance, a man left his complaining roommate to go listen to music in his car. Because his keys were in the ignition, he was charged with DUI. Under Florida law, being under "actual physical control" of a vehicle while drunk is illegal- so if you turned on your car to play a CD or turn up the heat and are found to be intoxicated by authorities, you could be charged with drunk driving. In the words of one man, "A person may be sitting in a vehicle and the keys may be in the ignition. They may have no intention of driving the vehicle, but the car is on." Being in actual physical control simply means that you are in a vehicle and have the capability to operate that vehicle- it does not actually matter if you were driving the vehicle. Often, individuals leave a bar or a party and know they are impaired and decide to
"sleep it off" in their cars. When this occurs, a person can be legally charged with a DUI.

In one instance, a man drove off of the road and a friend drove over to pick up that man. Even though the man's car had been parked for 30 minutes before the police arrived, he was found to have a BAC level of .09 and was subsequently charged with DUI. If police can prove that you drove a car while intoxicated on a select night, it does not matter if you were in the car at the time they discovered your blood alcohol content level was over the legal limit. Because many complex laws surround DUI charges and in the event of a conviction, harsh penalties are imposed, you should make sure you have a qualified legal defense on your side.

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