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Can I Be Arrested For DUI While Sitting in a Parked Car?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County DUI AttorneyWhen you think of the typical DUI arrest, you most likely envision a situation that begins with a police officer signaling for a moving vehicle to pull over to the side of the road. However, you may have also heard stories of DUI arrests in situations where a person is sitting behind the wheel in a parked car. According to Tennessee law, it is, in fact, possible for a person to be arrested and convicted for DUI even if they were not actively driving at the time they were apprehended. If you find yourself in such a situation, an attorney can help you develop a strong defense strategy.

Tennessee DUI Laws

The Tennessee Motor Vehicle Code makes it clear that a DUI charge may apply in cases other than when a person is driving on a public road. For example, you may be charged with DUI if you are “in physical control” of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance. In addition to public roads and highways, you may be charged with DUI if you are found in an alley or on the premises of an apartment complex or trailer park, a shopping center, or any other place that is frequently visited by the public.

What Evidence Can Justify a DUI Charge?

When law enforcement officers make a DUI arrest of a person in a parked car, they may look at a variety of factors to establish probable cause that a DUI violation has occurred. Of course, they will need some evidence of intoxication, which may come from the officer’s sensory perceptions of the person’s condition, the presence of an open container of alcohol in or near the vehicle, the results of a field sobriety or breathalyzer test, or the person’s own admissions.

An officer will also need some evidence that the person was driving or in physical control of the vehicle. Factors that may indicate physical control include the person’s presence in the driver’s seat, keys in the ignition, and a running engine. As mentioned above, an officer can make an arrest whether the vehicle is parked on the side of the road or in a public parking lot. If there is probable cause to believe that a person drove under the influence to arrive at their current location, an officer can make an arrest even if the car is not running and the keys are not in the ignition.

Contact a Campbell County DUI Defense Attorney

Given the possible ambiguity of a DUI case involving a parked vehicle, an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome. At The Law Office of William F. Evans, we can represent you in your efforts to have your DUI charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense like public intoxication. To schedule a free consultation with a Jacksboro, TN DUI defense lawyer, call our office today at 423-449-7980.




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