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Brian S. Leifert, Esq.
Douglas I. Leifert, Esq.

Element of Driving in West Palm Beach DUIs

The element of driving under the context of DUI law in West Palm Beach cases can be proven two different ways. The first is when a person is driving or operating a motor vehicle at the time of the stop or the time of the crash, and the second has to do with physical control of the vehicle.

To best understand the element of driving as it relates to your West Palm Beach DUI case, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately. An experienced West Palm Beach DUI attorney can build a case to help lessen or dismiss any potential consequences you may be facing.

Proving the Element of Driving

First and foremost, driving means the operation of a motor vehicle. An officer can attempt to prove driving by showing actual physical control. If a person is not driving the car, but the person is in the vehicle and has the apparent ability to operate that motor vehicle at a moment’s notice, they may be in actual physical control of the vehicle.

A classic example of that would be someone who fell asleep behind the wheel. If the keys are in the ignition, if the engine is running, if the car is in gear, if the person’s foot is on the brake, or if they are sitting in the front seat and the keys are handy, that is actual physical control. This is an important element of driving to consider when trying a West Palm Beach DUI case.

The law holds that the person is actually in possession of a vehicle and the person has the ability to operate that vehicle on a moment’s notice to be considered driving the vehicle. Driving in the context of a West Palm Beach DUI case means the person is actually operating a motor vehicle on a roadway or being in physical control of the vehicle and not driving, which is having the ability to operate that vehicle at a moment’s notice.

Being Charged as a Passenger

If it is not clear who is driving, the only way a passenger can get charged with a DUI is if there is a witness saying that person is indeed not a passenger but instead was a driver. They may claim that the person, at the time of the accident, moved over from the driver seat to the passenger seat or jumped from the front seat to the backseat. This is an important element of driving to consider in West Palm Beach DUI cases.

The only way a passenger can get charged with a DUI is if they are being identified as a driver or if they are in a vehicle by themselves and in the front seat. They may be passed out, with the keys in the ignition, if it is shown that they have the ability to operate the motor vehicle in a moment’s notice or legally in actual physical control of the motor vehicle.

Arrest Process

An individual can be arrested for a DUI anywhere except private property. They can be arrested in any place where the public has access to driving. An individual can be arrested in a parking lot, although maybe the private property has public access or law enforcement has been given permission to patrol there. A person may not be arrested in a driveway, for example, if they are sleeping in their car. This is because they are on private property. It is legally parked and they are not causing any harm.

If the person is witnessed by law enforcement on the roadway and they get the person pulled over in their driveway, that is a legal arrest. This is because an officer witnessed the person on the public roads operating a motor vehicle and committing some type of infraction. Where an individual can be arrested for a DUI, other than the road, would be on any property where the public has access. This is an important element of driving to understand during a West Palm Beach DUI case.

Leifert & Leifert Criminal Defense

Leifert & Leifert Criminal Defense

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