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Defining Driving in Mesa DUIs

In Mesa, a driver does not have to be driving a car to be charged with driving under the influence (DUI.) Under state law, a person can commit DUI by just being in “actual physical control” of a car or other vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While this law intends to stop drunk driving, it can also lead to unfair charges and a general misunderstanding of one’s legal rights. The truth is that even police officers misunderstand this law.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it is important to understand the state’s definition of your charges. Defining driving in Mesa DUIs is tricky, but a dedicated attorney can explain the intricacies of the law in more detail and knows how to use those issues to fight on your behalf. Reach out to Grand Canyon Law Group today to discuss your case with a caring legal professional.

What is Considered ‘Driving?’

Driving while under the influence is not the only way that you can be charged with a DUI. If the state can prove that you were in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle , this is enough to warrant a DUI charge. An example of this could be sitting in your vehicle in a parking lot with the engine running while intoxicated or impaired. You could be charged with a DUI in this case, and the judge or jury would decide whether you were in control of the vehicle based on the totality of the circumstances.

There is a common misconception that one must be on a major roadway to be charged with a DUI, but this is not the case, either. Parking lots, driveways, and dirt roads are all places where you could be charged. The definition of driving in Mesa DUI law is nuanced, so it is critical to get in touch with a skilled attorney as soon as possible after being charged. This will ensure you have the best chance at a the best outcome.

Passengers Can Be Charged with DUIs

It is possible for a passenger to be charged with a DUI if an officer has reason to believe that they were in control of the vehicle. There are cases where individuals switch places in a car during a traffic stop, or everyone in a car gets out too quickly for an officer to determine who was behind the wheel. In these instances, it will be up to the jury to decide who was operating the vehicle using evidence and witness statements.

Witness statements are especially important in DUI cases, and officers will make a point to get information from bystanders about who was behind the wheel. Officers will usually try to get statements from everyone in the car, often trying to get the motorist to admit that they were driving the vehicle. If a crash involved injuries, police may gather DNA evidence from the steering wheel, dashboard, airbag, driver’s seat, or any other areas that could establish the identity of the driver. Anyone in the vehicle at the time of a Mesa DUI arrest should avoid speaking with law enforcement until they have obtained legal representation.

Contesting DUI Charges When You Were Not Driving

If you were charged with DUI despite not driving your vehicle at the time of the charge, there are defenses available to you. For example, if it is hot outside and you decide to sit in your car to stay cool while you wait for a friend or cab to come and pick you up, this could be a defensible reason to be in your car while intoxicated. While an officer may think that you are in physical control of the vehicle, the car is only being used as shelter from the heat.

Cases like this where an officer might misconstrue someone’s intention for being in a vehicle will often be heard in front of a judge or jury. Here, a skilled lawyer can help you demonstrate that you did not fall under the legal definition of driving or “actual physical control” at the time of your charge.

Discuss the Mesa DUI Definition of Driving with a Dedicated Attorney

Defining driving in Mesa DUIs is complicated, and many people do not understand the intricacies of these laws. This can lead to a number of complications, such as false or misconstrued confessions. However, they can also be a way to defend against DUI charges if used correctly. At Grand Canyon Law Group, we have years of experience defending cases of this nature and can use our knowledge to shape a strong defense on your behalf.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you are not alone. Our compassionate legal team can stand by you every step of the process, fighting for your rights and your way of life. Call today to learn more.

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