Can I Get a DUI in DuPage County When I Wasn’t Driving?

Charged with a DUI in DuPage? But I wasn’t Even Driving!

Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any combination of the two is illegal anywhere in the United States. It’s not really that difficult for a prosecutor to prove a DUI case either, especially with supporting breath or blood evidence. Although most people believe that they must be caught driving in order to be charged with a DUI in DuPage County, many others have found themselves charged with the offense when they weren’t even driving or inside of a vehicle at the time of their arrest.

Sleeping it Off

Some people might leave a bar or a party and get into their car and start driving. Sometime after that, they realize that they really shouldn’t be driving, and pull off of the road to sleep it off.  In the interests of public safety, they might be doing the right thing, but they can still be arrested for DUI in DuPage.  That’s because a police officer isn’t required to see you drive in order to charge you with DUI.  You can be charged and convicted on circumstantial evidence showing that you were recently operating the vehicle. Here are some things that a police officer might draw an inference from:

  • The vehicle’s motor was running when the officer approached you.
  • The vehicle’s motor was not running, but the keys were in the ignition.
  • The vehicle’s engine was warm.
  • An eyewitness saw you drive to the location where you were found.
  • There was an open alcoholic beverage inside of your vehicle.

Away From Your Vehicle

You can be charged and found guilty of DUI in DuPage County, even if you weren’t in your vehicle at the time that a DUI investigation began. Given the evidence available in the case, the prosecution might be able to make the argument that even though you weren’t anywhere near your vehicle, you had driven it while under the influence.

For example, police might come upon a car that rolled over in a ditch at 3:00 a.m.  Upon looking in the car there is no driver, and there aren’t any passengers.  After calling the crash in, the officer patrols the area, and a man is discovered walking along the roadway.  He has a blood from a deep cut and scratches on his head, and he’s walking with an obvious limp.  The officer stops the man, and he has a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, bloodshot eyes and he’s slurring his words.  That’s enough for the officer to form a reasonable belief that the man was the driver of the vehicle in the ditch, especially when the rollover occurred on a rural road.  Blood tests at a local emergency room confirm a .18 blood alcohol content, and the man is placed under arrest for DUI.

Remember that the prosecution has the burden of proving anybody who is charged with a crime guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Every DUI case is fact specific, and an experienced DUI lawyer like Mark Sutter can review your case and search for evidence tending to show that you’re not guilty.  It’s entirely possible that a our DUI lawyer can have the charge against you lowered or even dismissed without the necessity of a trial.  Sutter Law Group offers free case consultations.  Make sure that you bring all of your paperwork with you for that appointment.

CONTACT US TODAY: 312-724-5600


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