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Can I Be Arrested for Drunk Driving If I Wasn't Driving At the Time of My Arrest?


"DUI Not Driving" Arrests

In Arizona, is it lawful for police to arrest someone for DUI if they weren’t even driving at the time? Find out what Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381 has to say.

Arizona law says that it is unlawful to “drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle” if you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Since some people are undoubtedly arrested for DUI when they aren’t driving, this prompts two major questions:

  • What does it mean to be in actual physical control of a vehicle? and
  • Can I be arrested for a DUI if police weren’t there to observe it?

The first question could easily be addressed by defining “actual physical control.” Unfortunately, Arizona has no precise definition for this phrase. Instead, courts view this on a case-by-case basis, evaluating all relevant factors. Say, for example, a man was arrested for DUI because his car was on and he was in the driver’s seat. Even though he wasn’t driving at the time, the court could interpret him being in the driver’s seat and the vehicle running as intent to drive, putting him in actual physical control of the vehicle.

On the other side of the coin, what about those people who are arrested for drunk driving by police who weren’t there to observe the driving? These cases come down to an admission of guilt. For example, a woman who had been drinking starts to drive but then pulls over into a parking lot to rest because she feels unable to drive. Say police find a reason to approach this woman in her vehicle - car off, keys out of the ignition. If the police ask her how she got there, and she responds by saying she drove, police could potentially arrest her for drunk driving even though they did not observe her.

Arrested for DUI when not driving? Call MayesTelles!

MayesTelles PLLC is here as a defense for those who have been arrested for drunk driving. If this is the circumstance you were arrested under, we invite you to contact a Phoenix DUI attorney at our firm today for a free review of your case.

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