Police officers in California may arrest drivers for driving under the influence (DUI). Drivers can be charged with a DUI anytime they operate a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, you can get a DUI even if you’re just sitting in your car after drinking.
Let’s review factors that can lead to a DUI arrest while you’re sitting in your car in California. The Simmrin Law Group can also help you focus on a defense to DUI charges. Reach out to us easily by calling (310) 997-4688.
Focus on California’s General Regulations for a DUI
California uses a number of legal codes to define DUI charges. Technically, drivers should only be charged with a DUI in California if it can be proven in court that they:
- Voluntarily moved a motor vehicle
- While under the influence of alcohol or drugs OR
- While their blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded the state’s legal limit
You may be wondering how you can be arrested for a DUI while sitting in your car if a DUI charge requires that you move your vehicle. Police officers are legally allowed to look for circumstantial evidence that you moved your vehicle. They can arrest you if they feel they have enough evidence to show that you drove before sitting in your car.
Additionally, if a law enforcement officer saw you driving your vehicle before parking, their testimony could be used as evidence that you committed a DUI in California.
Circumstantial Evidence Used in DUI Cases
Let’s briefly consider circumstantial evidence sometimes used in DUI cases in California. A law enforcement officer may conclude that you committed a DUI if they find that:
- Your engine or tires are warm
- Your car is in drive or the keys are in the ignition
- Your car had to be driven to its current location and no one else is around
- You are in your car at the site of an accident
In the above circumstances, a law enforcement officer can arrest you for a DUI in California based on the evidence that you drove your vehicle while impaired. You can get help quickly in this situation by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Just call (310) 997-4688 and you can get legal advice today.
Charges for Sleeping in Your Car in California
Some drivers get into their vehicle to sleep after they consume alcohol. Technically, this may not lead to DUI charges in California. In fact, the state does not have laws against sleeping in your vehicle. However, there are some local laws that prohibit sleeping in a car.
Depending upon the laws in your area, you could face criminal charges for sleeping in your car. You can review the laws in your area to determine if this will be considered a criminal act or not.
Results of a Conviction for a DUI in California
You can face harsh criminal charges if you get a DUI in California, even if you are just sitting in your car at the time of your arrest. Most DUI charges in California are prosecuted as misdemeanors. However, you could face felony charges if:
- You have multiple previous misdemeanor DUI convictions
- You have one previous felony DUI conviction
- You injured or killed someone while committing a DUI
Misdemeanor convictions for a DUI in California can lead to fines of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to six months. Note that these are the penalties for a first-time offense. Penalties increase each time you are convicted of a DUI. Felony charges can lead to years of prison time and much higher fines.
Defenses for a DUI Charges if You Were Sitting in Your Car
You can get help constructing a strong defense if you were arrested for a DUI while sitting in your car. A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to dispute the circumstantial evidence that you are facing. Your lawyer could even argue that you were approached by a police officer without reasonable cause.
Getting professional help quickly can increase your chances of successfully resolving a DUI charge. The Simmrin Law Group is ready to work to get your charges reduced or even dismissed right now.
Call a Lawyer if You Were Charged with a DUI in Your Car
You can get a DUI if you’re just sitting in your car in California. However, prosecutors must offer proof that you operated your vehicle while impaired. Get help disputing these accusations now from the Simmrin Law Group. Fill out our online contact form or call (310) 997-4688 to get started.
Our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles can offer you a FREE consultation right now.