Your son bought a home and you could not be more happy for him. To celebrate, he threw a housewarming party and it was replete with beer, whiskey and BBQ.
You hadn’t had much to eat that day, so you sat down for a rack of ribs before heading for a beer. Stuffed and satisfied, you head for a Coors, accompanied by your favorite shot. It had been a hard week, and this was a great occasion to let down.
So you drove home
You know your limit and you were certainly nowhere near it that night. You walked and talked just fine. You hopped in your truck, and started down the road, feeling very good and very relaxed. The music in your car is fine, and you are singing along. But then it hits you faster than a cowboy can rope a calf: You know you should not be driving.
You’ve always been a law-abiding citizen, so you do the one thing you know must be right – you pull over on a side street, put your vehicle in park, and recline your seat. You are snoring away peacefully when you hear a loud rap on the window.
It’s a police officer asking if you’ve been drinking.
You’re still half asleep and don’t respond. Before you know it, he orders you out of the car. Wobbly and tired, you fail the field sobriety test. You’re taken downtown and booked for drunk driving.
And you wonder, how on earth can you be guilty when you weren’t even driving at the time? Here’s the rub. The law doesn’t care whether you were actually moving. It cares that you were physically in control of the vehicle, and as long as you are in the car, you are deemed to be in control.
Is there ever a time when that’s not true?
In some cases, the DUI charges were dropped, but these are circumstances in which, for example, it was proven that no driving had ever taken place. For example, a man had been drinking in his home, had an argument with his wife, and went out into the car to put some space between them.
But these cases are few and far between.
The simple fact is this: If you drink and a cop finds you in the car, whether driving or trying to sleep it off, you risk a DUI conviction. Taking a cab or an Uber – or calling a friend for a ride from the party – is often the safest and smartest choice you can make.