Articles Posted in Actual Physical Control

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona DUI case requiring the court to determine if the evidence presented by the prosecution was sufficient to convict the defendant. Specifically, the defendant challenged the finding that she was operating the vehicle. Ultimately, the court upheld the defendant’s conviction, finding that the fact that the defendant was unconscious behind the wheel was sufficient to prove she was operating the vehicle.

The Facts

The defendant was found unconscious behind the wheel of her vehicle by a firefighter who was conducting a wellness check. The defendant’s car was parked across several parking spaces. The firefighter knocked on the window until the defendant awoke, at which point he reached in and turned off the vehicle.

As the fireman was talking with the defendant, a police officer arrived. The police officer asked the defendant for her identification, and she handed him her debit card. The defendant eventually provided the officer with her identification. The officer claimed he noticed signs of intoxication, and asked the defendant to perform several field sobriety tests. In the officer’s assessment, the defendant failed the tests and she was arrested for DUI.

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In Arizona, lawmakers take driving under the influence very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that the law as it is written allows for a defendant to be found guilty of driving under the influence in some situations when the car is parked in a legal parking spot. It can even be illegal for an intoxicated person to sit in a car that had been turned off.

The reason that these situations are covered under Arizona’s DUI statute is because the statute makes it illegal for “a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle” while intoxicated. Of course, not every case where an intoxicated motorist is found inside a vehicle will result in a DUI charge. For example, if someone was sleeping in the back seat of the vehicle while parked with the keys out of the ignition and a cold engine, there would be a good argument that they were not, and did not intend to be, in “actual physical control” of the vehicle.

Cases in which a defendant is arrested and charged with DUI while parked or while the car was off depend heavily on every small fact. An experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney can help anyone charged with an Arizona DUI charge understand what they are facing and how they may be able to defend against the charges.

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DUI laws can be complicated. In the state of Arizona and the city of Phoenix, there are plenty of considerations when it comes to drunk driving charges and arrest. What's more, actual physical control (APC) debates complicate DUI charges. These APC disputes could lead to people getting charged with drunk driving when when a vehicle is stationary.

Let's explore the issues of actual physical control right now, and offer some insight into these kinds of legal disputes.

Liberal Interpretations of "Drunk Driving"

Drunk driving charges can change your life and potentially even your livelihood. That's why it's important to speak with a Phoenix drunk driving defense attorney about your case. Legal help following a DUI arrest can help you keep your life on the right track without detours.

Yet DUI cases can become complicated, particularly when laws regarding actual physical control (APC) can lead to drunk driving charges while people are in stationary vehicles. Let's explore this topic with regard to sleeping while in your car.

Sleeping It Off May Not Be a Way to Avoid DUI

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