I'm a criminal
defense attorney, and a former prosecutor, and I'm asked this question fairly regularly.
Many people look at DRIVING under the influence charges and presume (understandably) that one must actually be DRIVING the vehicle. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If a person is in a car and has the ABILITY to drive the car, they can be charged with driving under the influence.
This situation is typically more defendable than the normal situation where the person is, in fact, driving. Certain things may become issues at trial
. This would include:
- That the vehicle was operational. Did the officer start the car? Can they establish that the car was driveable?
- If he was in a parking lot, he may be able to use as a defense that he drove there, THEN became impaired and never drove after drinking.
- Jurors don't like this situation much. As you've alluded to, many people simply don't believe you can be charged with driving under the influence if you weren't DRIVING the car. As such, jurors will often acquit a defendant in these situations.
I would urge you to check into hiring a criminal defense attorney in the area. Such an attorney would know the laws, know the prosecutors and know the judges. With this knowledge, the attorney could go a long ways towards protecting your son's rights.
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