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What Is The Definition Of Driving As It Relates To A DUI In Los Angeles County?

This driving issue in DUI’s in LA comes up all the time, because a lot of time the police don’t get that standard pull over, but they’re still arresting and charging somebody with a DUI case. The reality is that when it comes to the driving aspect of a DUI case, the person doesn’t necessarily have to be behind the wheel when the police end up pulling them over. The issue becomes, can the police prove that at some time close to the point of them coming in contact with the person, were they driving?

The perfect scenario is, somebody’s car breaks down the side of the freeway. They get out of the car and start walking to the call box of AAA. The police see them and come upon them. They take them back to their car. Then they figure out that they’re drunk. So, now the police are going to need to be able to prove, number one, the person was driving the car; and number two, when they were driving the car. That way, when they take them back to the station, get their breath result/blood result, their expert fast-forwarding ahead to a trial, can say okay, I’m going to extrapolate backwards. They were a .15 at 2:00 a.m., so when the police had them at 1:00 a.m., this is what I think they were and here’s why I think it. But, they need that time of driving. Without that time of driving, there’s no way that they can do that.

So, how do they get that? Well, they get it through common sense. A lot of times the police will get somebody on the freeway and say, you drove that car there, right? They answer, yes. You’re the only one out here on the freeway. You don’t have a passenger somewhere that we don’t see. And, when did you stop that car there? So, if they get the answer to those two questions – and the police know they have to do this – then they can pinpoint the time of driving. So, that’s one way to get you.

Another thing I see, a big accident occurred. There’s a big melee, a big problem. The police come and someone else is claiming they’re driving other than the person the police think was driving, and the police think somebody was driving because witnesses say, that was a guy driving. These guys switched seats or no, they’re lying about that. That other person wasn’t driving. That person’s just not intoxicated, so of course, they’re going to say that they were driving versus the person who was intoxicated. So again, it’s common sense. They’re going to look to the facts. They’re going to look to the evidence that’s available to them to determine whether somebody was driving.

Yes, it’s a big problem if the police cannot prove when you were driving. Let’s say somebody crashes a car and gets out, runs away, goes to their house and an hour goes by. The police come and track him down. Maybe they got blood and they followed a trail of blood or maybe they followed a witness’s directions on where the person went. So, how are they going to catch that person for a DUI. They’re going to try to get a witness to say, that’s the person I saw driving. That’s the person I saw the crash. But then they also have to get around the hurdle – what if you drank alcohol while you were in your house for that hour. So, they’re going to be asking questions about that. They’re going to ask the witnesses. If come staggering drunk out of the car after an accident and then you try to claim, I ran home and drank a bunch of alcohol. Is a jury really going to believe that? So, again, they’re going to look at the facts and surrounding circumstances.

But, bet your bottom dollar, one of the big defenses is, in DUI cases, not every DUI case, but in a lot of them, is whether or not the person was driving because many times, the police don’t actually see the person driving. So, in order to prove that somebody was driving for purposes of a DUI case, the police are going to have to have witnesses, evidence and facts to be able to prove the driving.

Another area that I see, is let’s say that somebody feels like their intoxicated so they just get in their car. They have it pulled over to the side of the road and they’re asleep in the car with the keys in it because it’s cold outside so they need the heat on. Is that a DUI? Not necessarily. They’re not really driving. The vehicle is not moving. Again, they’re going to have to prove, when they pulled that car there. Another way they can get them is let’s say you’re so drunk, you stop in the middle of the road. I’ve had cases like that too. If you’re stopped in the middle of the road, even if our car is off, you’re driving. If you’re parked like a nut with your whole back-end blocking the road near the curb, you’re driving for purposes of a DUI.

So, that’s the kind of barrier there on whether or not you’re driving. But, if you’re safely parked in a parking spot and you’re just sitting in the car. You can be intoxicated and you’re not moving, that’s not driving for purposes of a DUI. But, a lot of times people will pull into a parking lot really quick, stop and then say, yeah, I was just stopped in a parking lot. I don’t understand how these guys got me, but meanwhile, the police saw them pull into the spot, nearly hit three pedestrians.

So, again, it depends on the facts and circumstances. That’s why we get you in. We sit down and go over everything. We talk about the case. We then get the police report and we make a real good, common sense determination based on experience and facts whether or not you were driving for purposes of a DUI in Los Angeles.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.