Defining Driving in a Howard County DUI Case

When defining driving in a Howard County DUI case, it is important to consider that a person can be charged with a DUI anywhere where they can be in control of a vehicle. It could be their own driveway, it can be parked by the side of the road. It could be sitting on the grass as long as it is a vehicle that is operable. If a person has questions about their drinking and driving case, they should consult an experienced DUI defense lawyer.

Defining Drinking and Driving

Even though it is called a drinking and driving charge, a person can still be in control of a motor vehicle without driving. Someone sitting in their driveway and parked, listening to the radio with the keys in the ignition is in control of the vehicle even if they are parked, even if the car is not even on and the battery is on, the person in that scenario is in control of a vehicle such that if they were found to be impaired or under the influence, they could be charged.

Passenger Charged with a DUI

There are various scenarios where police can come to the scene after the fact. Usually, it is when there is an accident and then multiple parties are present or occupants of the vehicle and all parties are standing around and the officer has no idea who was the one operating the vehicle.

An officer can charge anyone if there is reason with certain basis to believe that the person committed a crime, so if they have two individuals by the side of the road, in the middle of a highway with no one around for miles and the car’s engine is warm, then it is fair to say that one of those two individuals were driving even if neither of them will admit it first, the officer has enough basis to charge each of them individually and perhaps does not mean they will be convicted of a crime necessarily, but there is enough at least to charge those two individuals and let the prosecutor and investigators figure it out later.

Frequency of DUI Arrests

DUI arrests are relatively rare. The majority of DUIs are where there is a valid traffic stop such as speeding or running a red light where someone is pulled over and there is an interaction there. Also, there is the accident case that happened, it is where the police are called to the scene after the fact, but once in a while there is an unusual circumstance where police come by or are called or there has been a complaint and ultimately, someone gets charged in one of those more unusual scenarios.

Law Enforcement Patrol

Law enforcement officials do not always patrol the parking lots. An officer still needs a valid basis to pull a vehicle over or to initiate a traffic stop and leaving a bar even at 2 a.m. does not give officers justification to pull a vehicle over, but what they can do is drive in the vicinity of the surrounding areas and once the vehicle commits a traffic infraction, then they could pull that vehicle over for what is called a pre-textual stop. This means that the officer has a legitimate reason to pull the vehicle over such as running a red light when they really just want to see the interior of the vehicle and to speak to the operator to see if maybe they are impaired.