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DUI charges are possible in Oklahoma even if are safely parked

Conscientious motorists know if they have had too much to drink and should not be operating a motor vehicle. Sometimes, you may not feel the full effects of alcohol until you are already on the road. People who care about their own safety and the safety of others choose to pull off the roadway and park the vehicle when intoxicated until they are sober enough to drive safely.

This probably sounds like the responsible and safe thing to do, but it may not save you from an alcohol-related arrest in the state of Oklahoma. While DUI typically means driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the term "driving" may be deceiving.

In Oklahoma, law enforcement also uses the actual physical control model to determine guilt. This means you could be charged because you have control of the vehicle even if your car is in a parked position and the engine is off. Here are a few elements a court might examine to determine guilt.

  • Whether your car is parked on or off a roadway
  • Whether you are in the driver's seat or somewhere else in the car
  • Whether the car is functional and could be operated
  • Whether the keys are in the ignition or not

For example, if you park to sleep off intoxication and a police officer approaches, he or she may choose not to make an arrest if you are in the backseat. It could strengthen your innocence even more if the car keys are in your pocket instead of the ignition.

Actual physical control is a model that is vulnerable to police error in many cases. An experienced attorney could play a valuable role in defending you against DUI charges related to this concept.

Source: FindLaw, "Elements of a DUI Offense," accessed March 14, 2018

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