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How to get a DUI without even driving!

You thought you were doing the right thing: You'd had too much to drink and as soon as you realized it, you pulled over and jumped in the back seat--you figured you could sleep it off and drive home in the morning. But a concerned citizen called in your car, and you awakened to a knock on your window.

You rolled down the window and before you knew what was happening, your car was impounded and you were being booked. How can you get a DUI if you aren't behind the wheel, let alone driving?

It happens more than you think

Virtually every state allows you to be charged with DUI even though you may not have been driving at the time. It seems a little out of line, and you wonder how it can possibly stick.

States have become more and more strict on drunk-driving. In an effort to keep the roads ever more safe, the long arm of the long has stretched from public roads to even private property: One Minnesota man was charged with DUI while he was parked in his own driveway.

How can they do that?

The courts have upheld these convictions by determining if it can be proven that someone is in control of the vehicle, they may be convicted of driving under the influence. How can the prosecution prove you were in control of the car? Fairly simply: If the keys are in your pocket or in the ignition, they will argue that you could wake up and drive away any moment and therefore you are in control of the vehicle.

Which poses the question: How can they convict you on something you might do? The fact that you are drunk and behind the wheel--or even in the back seat--and alone in the car gives a pretty good circumstantial case that you were already drunk before you pulled over. And let's face it, most people in this situation actually admit to the officer that they were intoxicated and that they pulled over to sleep it off. Effectively, they give the prosecution all the information they need for a conviction.

Do I have any defense?

You might. Was someone else in the car with you? Depending on where they were in the vehicle, and whether they were sober (or at least under the legal limit), you may be able to force the prosecution to prove who was driving.

After all, although you must never lie in court, you are innocent until proven guilty and the prosecutor must prove you were behind the wheel beyond a reasonable doubt. A good criminal defense attorney can help you examine all evidence in the case and determine whether you have a viable defense.

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