This driving issue in DUIs in Los Angeles comes up because a lot of time, the police don't get that standard pullover, 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 pull them over. 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 that somebody's car breaks down on 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 vehicle. Then they figure out that they're drunk.
So, now the police will need to prove that the person was driving the car, and number two, when they were going the vehicle. 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 backward.
They were a .15 at 2:00 a.m., so when the police had them at 1:00 a.m., I think they were, and here's why I believe it. But, they need that time of driving. Without that driving time, there's no way that they can do that.
So, how do they get that? Well, they get it through common sense. Often, the police will get somebody on the freeway and say, you drove that car there, right? The answer is yes. You're the only one out here on the highway.
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 – they can pinpoint the driving time. So, that's one way to get you.
Vehicle Accident and Witnesses
another thing I see is 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 going, and the police think somebody was going because witnesses say that was a guy going.
These guys switched seats or not; they're lying about that. That other person wasn't driving. That person's not intoxicated, so they're going to say that they were driving versus the drunk person.
So again, it's common sense. They're going to look at the facts. They're going to look to the available evidence to determine whether somebody was driving.
Yes, it's a big problem if the police cannot prove when you drive. Suppose 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 perhaps 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 in 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 you come staggering drunk out of the car after an accident and then try to claim, I ran home and drank a bunch of alcohol. Is a jury going to believe that? So, again, they will look at the facts and surrounding circumstances.
But, bet your bottom dollar, one of the great 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 see the person going. So, to prove that somebody was driving for purposes of a DUI case, the police will have to have witnesses, evidence, and facts to prove the driving.
Asleep On The Side Of The Road
Another area I see is that somebody feels like they're intoxicated, so they 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 driving. The vehicle is not moving.
Again, they will 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 plugged in the middle of the road, you're driving even if your car is off. If you're parked like a nut with your whole back-end blocking the road near the curb, you're going for purposes of a DUI.
So, that's the 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, many times, people will pull into a parking lot quickly, stop and then say, yeah, I was just plugged in a parking lot. I don't understand how these guys got me, but the police saw them pull into the spot and 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 an outstanding, common sense determination based on experience and facts whether or not you were driving for purposes of a DUI in Los Angeles.