It is a common misconception that an individual cannot be charged with a driving while under the influence (DUI) charge if the keys are not in the ignition. However, a person can face a DUI charge regardless if their keys are not in the ignition. An individual may face a DUI charge even if their keys were not in the ignition if they were in actual physical control of the vehicle. In order to determine if a person actually had physical control of the vehicle, the location of the individual inside the vehicle, possession of the keys, and whether the engine was warm will be evaluated as well as other pertinent factors. If you or someone you care about has been charged with a DUI even though your keys were not in the ignition, contact a qualified Garden City, NY DWI/DUI Attorney who can help defend your rights and investigate the circumstances of the arrest.
Is it possible to get charged with DUI when the keys are not in the ignition?
As mentioned above, it is entirely possible for an individual to get charged with a DUI even though the keys were not in the ignition. This is because to be convicted of a DUI, an individual must have been in actual physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. Essentially, actual physical control of a vehicle refers to whether an individual had the apparent ability to operate a vehicle while impaired. Ultimately, to determine the intent of an impaired individual in this scenario, the court will evaluate the following to determine whether a person was in actual physical control of the vehicle:
- Where was the individual located in the vehicle?
- Where was the vehicle parked?
- Did the individual have the vehicle’s keys in their possession?
- Did the individual have the keys in the ignition?
- Did the individual have the engine running?
- Was the vehicle disabled?
Furthermore, individuals may believe they are choosing a responsible route when “sleeping it off” in their vehicle. However, the law does not consider this a responsible move. This is because it is illegal to sleep in a vehicle while impaired in the driver’s seat with the vehicle’s keys in possession because this is considered being in actual physical control of a vehicle. Ultimately, if an individual is found to be in actual physical control of a vehicle, they will be faced with a DUI conviction.
Not having the keys in the ignition is not enough to avoid a DUI charge. A person can face a DUI charge even if they weren’t driving. An individual could still be in actual physical control of a vehicle even if the keys are not in the ignition. In the unfortunate event that you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our trusted and dedicated team members. Allow our firm to fight on your behalf today to help you seek favorable results.