Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152, it is illegal to drive a vehicle while having a blood-alcohol content level of .08% or higher. However, how VC 23152 defines “driving” a vehicle is not entirely straightforward. Under certain circumstances, you could face DUI charges even if you were not actually driving a vehicle.
In past rulings, the California Supreme Court decided that driving is more than being in physical control of a vehicle.
Thus, when used in drunk driving laws, the definition of “driving” requires the driver to exercise “volitional movement of the vehicle.”
This is not to say that an officer must see you exercising “volitional movement of the vehicle,” as there are certain types of evidence that may infer that you drove while under the influence of alcohol.
This type of evidence is known as circumstantial evidence, and it can be used to prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol.
Circumstantial Evidence in California Drunk Driving Cases
Circumstantial evidence is basically a logical and reasonable assumption of evidence based on a fact. Examples of circumstantial evidence commonly used in DUI cases include:
- Sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle
- Headlights on
- Keys in the ignition; and
- The temperature of the vehicle’s hood/engine
Note that the vehicle’s engine does not need to be engaged, nor does the transmission need to be in gear for an officer to consider that you have or had moved the vehicle after consuming alcohol.
Additional circumstantial evidence the officer will look for includes where the vehicle is parked. Your case could be very different if you vehicle is parked at home or if it is at a public place such as a restaurant or bar.
For instance, a car with a cool engine that is parked in your driveway or in the lot of a bar provides strong evidence that you did not actually drive the vehicle. On the other hand, if your vehicle is parked on the side of the road, this adds credibility to the assumption that you drove while under the influence of alcohol. This could be used as evidence against you in your case.
Call the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, it is crucial that you contact a Wallin & Klarich DUI defense attorney immediately. Our skilled lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending those facing drunk driving charges for over 30 years. We can help you, too. We will analyze the facts of your case and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the best outcome possible in your case.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is a skilled Wallin & Klarich DUI attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.