Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal across the United States. In Illinois, a person that drives with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above, or drives while under the influence of drugs can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). DUI charges are serious and can negatively impact your life. While penalties vary depending on the case, a DUI charge will end up costing you time, money and a possible jail sentence.
Requirements for DUI Charges
In order for the state to convict a person for DUI charges, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The person drove a motor vehicle
- while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This seems pretty self explanatory, and most people would imagine that they have to be caught actually driving their vehicle to get charged with DUI. After all, the act of “driving” is a major part of the DUI charge. However, many people in Illinois have found themselves charged with DUI even when they are not driving their car at the time of the arrest.
DUI Charge Away From Vehicle
You may be asking yourself how this is possible. Can prosecutors really charge a person for driving under the influence when they aren’t even in their car? Based on the experience of other Illinois drivers, it is certainly possible. The state needs to prove that you drove your car while intoxicated. In certain circumstances, they may be able to make the argument that while you weren’t in the car when arrested, you had driven your vehicle while intoxicated. In most cases these charges are filed when a person is found walking along the highway after an accident or vehicle breakdown. It can be argued that if the person was intoxicated while walking away from the vehicle, it is likely the person was intoxicated while driving the car.
Examples of DUI Charges Away From Vehicle
- In People v Call, the defendant was found walking along the highway after his car had been found in a ditch. The police officer smelled alcohol on his breath and inferred that he had been driving while under the influence of alcohol.
- In People v Chavez, the defendant was found at a gas station after his car had been found overturned on the side of the road. A law enforcement officer believed him to be intoxicated because of glassy eyes, slurred speech and the smell of alcohol. It was inferred that the defendant had been intoxicated while driving.
Chicago DUI Attorneys Can Help
Though you may find yourself charged with a DUI even if you are not physically in your car, a Chicago DUI lawyer can help you determine the best course of action. Whenever you get charged with a DUI, regardless of the circumstances, it is important to hire a Chicago DUI lawyer to represent your case and help you get the best result possible. Dennis F. Dwyer is a Chicago DUI attorney with ample experience fighting DUI charges. Call his office today to set up an appointment to discuss your DUI case.