Can a Drunk Passenger Be Charged with DUI? Miami DUI Attorney Answers
Let’s say someone is trying to make their way home after a party where they had too much to drink. They may be well aware they are too intoxicated to drive and do not intend to start the car. They simply want to get in the car and turn on the heater or the radio while they wait for a designated driver who is still inside the party. A police officer comes by and arrests the person for DUI. Is this a case of false arrest? Was the person arrested because the officer thought the person was intending to drive or had just finished driving? One thing is for sure, this person can use a good Miami DUI attorney.
The answer is that the police officer does not need to believe the person actually finished driving or was preparing to drive to justify the arrest. This person could justifiably be arrested for DUI even if they weren’t intending to drive. The two factors that gave the officer sufficient reason for an arrest are the fact that the keys were in the person’s control so they could start the car. Second, the person’s judgment was impaired and they were intoxicated enough to make driving dangerous and illegal. Their intention at that moment isn’t important. Upon further consideration, this makes sense, because the driver’s judgment is impaired in the first place. They might forget from one moment to the next that they are drunk and might decide to put the key in the ignition. This is one case in which a drunk person can be charged with DUI simply for sitting in the driver’s seat. This is one reason it is not “safe” to sit in a car to get warm while intoxicated. A DUI attorney in Miami can advise you on what to do if you have been arrested for DUI.
Intoxicated passages will not be arrested and charged with DUI if they are simply sitting or lying down in the back seat. However, one should show caution when sitting in the front passenger’s seat. A police officer can make an arrest if he or she sees the driver and passenger switch places. A police officer can be following the car at some distance and notice that the passenger is switching places to drive.
Having a designated driver is important if you plan to drink a lot on a night out, but keep in mind what is important to police officers. The keys and the car should never be in control of someone who is intoxicated. If you have had too much to drink, always get a designated driver. If you get arrested, contact a seasoned DUI law firm in Miami for solutions.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions, (305) 615-1285.
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