Getting arrested and charged with DUI in Colorado can be frightening. The penalties can be hefty, and the best thing to do immediately after an arrest is to contact criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs. They can help you create a strong defense against the charges and have them reduced or dropped.
However, you might be surprised to learn that there are situations in which you cannot be charged with a DUI even if arrested for the same. A police officer must show credible evidence that you were driving under the influence to charge you. The courts may have difficulty convicting you of the offense without reliable evidence, even if you were parked inside your car.
What Are the Requirements for Being Arrested and Convicted for DUI in Colorado?
Colorado considers drunk driving as having control of a moving vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. You can only be convicted if the court can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You were driving a motor vehicle or had control while intoxicated at the time of the arrest. In this case, you don’t have to be behind the wheel to get a DUI.
- You were intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, and the concentration was high enough to make you substantially incapable of safely operating the car.
While driving makes part of the definition, you don’t have to drive the vehicle to get a DUI. If you’re arrested for DUI while you were parked at the time, contact Colorado Springs DUI lawyers for legal counsel.
What Does an Officer Look for When Making a DUI Arrest When Parked?
You can get arrested for DUI when parked based on the principle of “actual physical control,” which refers to being capable of driving the vehicle, even if you were not found driving at the time of the arrest. So, you could get arrested for DUI if an officer sees you in the driver’s seat, even if you had no intention of driving at the time.
However, a DUI conviction depends on the circumstances at the time of the arrest. Some factors that an officer will consider when pressing charges against you include the following:
Where the Car Was Parked
Where you had parked your car at the time of the arrest can largely influence an officer’s decision to arrest you. For example, if they found you sleeping in your car at the side of the road, you’re more likely to get arrested than if you were parked in the bar parking lot, although this often happens.
An officer could arrest you when parked because the assumption is that you drove while intoxicated to get to your destination. The only exception is if your car was inoperable at the time of the arrest. Sadly, such circumstances are often rare.
Keys in the Ignition
You can get arrested for a DUI when parked if an officer finds keys in the ignition. Even if you hadn’t started the car, it doesn’t mean that you hadn’t tried it earlier and later changed your mind. Car keys in the ignition show that you had every intention to drive upon entering the car, at least in the eyes of the law enforcers.
DUI laws in all states determine that a driver has physical control of the vehicle when the keys are inside the car, especially in the ignition. If you want to rest in your vehicle after taking alcohol and have no intention to drive, leave the keys with the bartender or wrap them and lock them safely away in a safe place.
Appearance of Intent to Drive
If a police officer finds you sleeping in your car while parked, they will look for signs that indicate your intent to drive. For example, you may have decided to nap as you wait to sober up before driving off. Unluckily, you forgot the car keys in the ignition and the lights on while sobering up.
Even if you move to the back seat to take a nap, an officer may reasonably assume that you intended to drive and therefore cite you for DUI. Current local traffic and driving laws in most jurisdictions in the United States allow officers to arrest individuals for a DUI while sleeping in the car unless the keys are reasonably out of reach.
How Can I Defend Myself Against DUI When Parked?
The best legal defenses in DUI charges when parked are based on technicalities on the police report. Skilled DUI lawyers in Colorado Springs can help you challenge an officer’s predetermined perception of a DUI concerning your actual intent to operate the parked vehicle.
Depending on the evidence brought against you, you may also use these legal defenses:
- Inoperable vehicle: If your car is not in a condition that it could be operated, you cannot get a DUI conviction. However, it must not be because of a crash because of intoxication.
- No probable cause: Police officers must have probable cause to stop or arrest an individual unless there’s a reason to believe a crime was committed or was in the process of being executed. The police may not have probable cause to arrest an individual peacefully sitting in their vehicle.
Learn Your Legal Options When Arrested for DUI While Parked
The circumstances under which you can be arrested for DUI while parked are if you had actual physical control of the vehicle. That means you must have been capable of driving the car even if you were not driving at the time of the arrest. Your best move after the arrest would be to contact experienced Colorado Springs DUI attorneys to represent you.
The skilled Colorado DUI defense lawyers at our firm can evaluate the circumstances of the case and help you create a solid defense. We work hard to fight for the rights and freedom of people charged with DUI. Book a free case evaluation with us today.