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Types of DUI: Parked Car DUI

Posted by Raymond Ejarque | Jul 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

There are a different types of DUI charges.
Such as: BUI (Boating under the Influence), 1st, 2nd and 3rd DUI, Felony DUI, Federal DUI, Misdemeanor DUI, Military DUI, Aggravated DUI, Underage DUI, Out of State DUI, and Parked Car DWI/DUI. This blog will talk about Parked Car DUI. Most people don't know you can be charged with this, especially when you are not driving.

Police officers can always ask questions, certainly if they have reason to believe that if any criminal activity is going on. Keep in mind that being in the driver's seat of a vehicle with the keys in the ignition, even if parked, would be sufficient for a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charge if the person is intoxicated. While it's commonly referred to as “Driving While Intoxicated” the law says that nobody should “operate” a motor vehicle while intoxicated. “Operate” is given a broader definition than “driving. ” A person could potentially be charged with a DWI.

The most common way you can get charged for a DUI is by driving a car while intoxicated. But what if you've had too much to drink, and after getting in your car, you decide to take a nap or just stay in your car instead. Can you get charged with DUI/DWI, even if the car wasn't in motion, or even turned on?

While all states have statutes that prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, state laws vary widely when it comes to parked cars. It is important to understand the methods that a court may use to determine whether or not to charge someone with DWI/DUI.

Driving-in-fact. This argument pertains to whether or not someone was “operating” the vehicle at the time of his or her arrest. A court will consider whether the car was turned on, the parking brake was off, the car was in gear, and other similar factors.

Attempted DUI. This means that a person was attempting to drive intoxicated, even if the car was not currently in motion when the police officer arrived.

Circumstantial Evidence of DUI. The court can also consider whether or not there are particular signs of a car being driven prior to police finding an intoxicated driver in a parked car. A warm engine, tires, or a defendant's admission that he or she drove drunk can all be used to convict of DUI.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you think it's better to sleep off a few beers rather than drive, it's helpful to remember a few tips:

  • First, make sure you turn off the car and take the keys out of the ignition. Don't turn it back on.
  • Don't park on the side of a busy road. Find a parking lot or a side road where parking is permissible.
  • Get out of the driver's seat to take a nap. The back seat is preferable, but even the passenger seat is better than falling asleep while in the driver's seat.
  • If questioned by police, do not admit to any intent to drive in the near future.
  • It is always best to find a sober driver or call a cab after a night of drinking. However, if you do decide to stay in your car be sure the keys are not anywhere near the ignition, and that it is clear that you have chosen not to drive that night.

This information provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney. Attorney Raymond Ejarque has over 20 years of experience fighting for your rights. The Law Offices of Raymond W. Ejarque offers free and private consultations. Please call at 206-621-1554 or visit our website at for more information.

About the Author

Raymond Ejarque

Raymond Ejarque has practiced law since his admission to the Washington State Bar in June of 1994. He started his career in public interest law helping migrant farm workers and indigents in Texas and Washington State.  Later he worked in Criminal defense as a public defender in Seattle for many y...


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