I was charged with a DUI even though I wasnot observed driving.

UPDATED: Aug 31, 2011

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I was charged with a DUI even though I wasnot observed driving.

Will my DUI charge stick if I was never actually observed driving? I was not even in the vehicle. Should I speak with a DUI attorney? In Sussex County, DE.

Asked on August 31, 2011 Delaware


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes you can be arrested for a DUI even if you are not actually behind the wheel and driving at the time or, as in your case even in the vehicle. It all depends on the surrounding circumstances. Under the law, the police do not have to actually observe you behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.  Legally all that is needed is evidence of driving. For example, it you were pulled off on the side of the road and standing next to the car or you were near the car in the middle of a parking lot and had the keys in your possession. Any reasonable proof that you had been driving just prior to be stopped by the police. This would be legally sufficient to demonstrate that you exerted control over the vehicle. Unfortunately, you did not provide any details as to your particular case. Additionally, I don't know what, if anything, tests were administered at the scene (breathalyzer, blood, field sobriety) would further legally establish that at the time not control was exerted over the car you were "under the influence" (legally intoxicated).

That having been said, this does not mean that there aren't legal grounds on which to fight the charge.  Defenses can be enlisted which could result in getting the charge reduced or dismissed outright.  At this point you need to consult with an attorney that handles drunk driving cases. Since a DUI triggers both civil and criminal cases, you really should have legal representation. You could not only be left with a criminal record but lose your driver's license as well, not to mention and increase in your insurance rates and possibly even the loss of employment and eligibility for professional licenses, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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