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Sitting in a parked car can result in a drugged driving DUI

Think twice about getting in your car while under the influence of drugs because you can get a drugged driving charge by simply sitting in the front seat. Driving under the influence of drugs is punishable with a DUI; but did you know that you can get a DUI without driving the car? This type of charge is called an actual physical control DUI and it is more common than you think.

An actual control DUI charge is defined as a person who has the capability of operating a motor vehicle within two hours of being under the influence of any drug. The law sounds vague but the reasoning is that the driver can turn the vehicle on and operate it while impaired. This can include someone sitting or even sleeping in their front seat.

A recent example can be seen from a local Bremerton man, charged with a DUI while asleep in his front seat. This past week the 26-year-old Bremerton resident was taken into custody for driving under the influence of heroin. The man was found asleep in his parked vehicle, unresponsive with the engine running. The police charged him with a DUI because it was apparent that he was making an attempt to drive the vehicle while impaired.

Requirements to charge someone with an actual control DUI:

  • The vehicle must be able to run
  • The person has a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher, or evidence of a significant amount of a drug in their system
  • The person is in the driver's seat
  • The key is close enough to the person so that they could start the vehicle

Penalties for a drugged driving conviction are up to 1 year in jail and $5,000 in fines. License suspension penalties in Washington are as follows:

  • 1st offense: 90 days to 1 year
  • 2nd offense: 2 years to 900 days
  • 3rd offense: 3 to 4 years

There is no simple breathalyzer test for drugs. Anyone suspected of drugged driving by a police officer will have to undergo a chemical test to determine what types of drugs and how much are in their system.

There are many ways to defend unique DUI cases such as these. If you or someone you know has been charged with an actual control DUI for driving under the influence of drugs then it is important to contact an experienced attorney.

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Tim Kelly

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