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Why am I Charged with a Los Angeles DUI if I Was Not Driving?

  • September 4, 2017

    It might sound surprising, but the reality is that you can actually get charged with a Los Angeles DUI even when you were not driving a vehicle. If this has happened to you, it is understandable to be frustrated and confused.

    Keep in mind that even if you have been arrested, you are not actually convicted yet. A DUI charge just means that the arresting police officers think there is a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that you were driving under the influence. A prosecutor will have to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before you actually face any legal consequences.

    People can be charged with a DUI even when they were not driving because their actions may make an officer suspicious that the person did drive their vehicle at some point. This sort of charge commonly occurs when a person is discovered intoxicated and near a vehicle. To explain this concept a little more clearly, let us take a look at a few common examples of LA DUI charges against people who were not driving.

    In our first example, we will consider the case of Luke, who was found sleeping in the backseat of his car which is parked in front of a bar. Officers report that his blood alcohol level was .11, far above legal limits. In one of his pockets is the car key, and in the other is a receipt showing that he was in the bar for a few hours buying drinks. His last purchase was just 15 minutes before the officers found him.

    For the second example, let’s take a look at Logan, who was also found sleeping in his turned-off car and charged with a DUI. Logan’s blood alcohol level was measured at .12. His car was parked next to the road, and the keys are in the ignition. Luke is in the front seat of the car, and the road he was found along has nothing around but a few trees. No one else is in the vehicle, and the vehicle does not contain any alcoholic beverage containers.

    At first these DUI charges seem somewhat similar. The two men were both sleeping in a parked car, their vehicles were parked and turned off, and they had similarly high blood alcohol levels. However, the reality is that Logan is far more likely to be convicted than Luke because Luke can more easily argue against the DUI charge.

    The facts around Luke’s arrest easily support the conclusion that Luke had too many drinks and then decided to sleep it off in his car instead of driving when he left the car. Since the receipt showed Luke was just in the bar, he probably did not have time to drive anywhere. Unfortunately for Logan, the facts in his case seem more likely to support a conclusion that he got drunk, drove for a little while, and then pulled over to sleep. He could maybe argue that he got drunk after pulling over or that someone else drove him and abandoned him, but it could be hard to support this argument without evidence.

    As you can see, a person may be convicted of a Los Angeles DUI if the facts in their case seem to support a conclusion that the person was driving around while above the legal limit. The best way to defend yourself from a DUI charge would therefore be to present a strong legal argument that explains all facts from your case in a way that suggests you were not drinking and driving. The prosecutor must prove that you were both under the influence and prove that you were the one driving beyond any sort of reasonable doubt.

    Since this sort of DUI charge relies heavily on circumstantial evidence, it is somewhat easier to argue against a court of law. With the right lawyer, you can offer evidence to show you were not actually driving your vehicle while under the influence. If you have been charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, it is important to seek professional help. A lawyer who is experienced in these sorts of cases can help you to get the best possible outcome after your charge.

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