There is a general misconception about what constitutes a DUIin the state of Utah. DUI obviously stands for “driving under the influence”. This title implies that to commit a DUI you must necessarily be driving. However…this is wrong! To truly represent what constitutes a violation, the name of the offense would have to be changed to CUI, or controlling a vehicle under the influence. “Controlling?” Yes, controlling. This comes as a surprise to many of my Utah DUI clients. I have represented many a surprised “criminal defendant” in Utah DUI cases where they were discovered by a law enforcement officer, while sitting in a parked car with the heater on to keep warm on a cold day. “But I wasn’t driving”, they all declare. To this I then have to explain to these unfortunate DUI defendants: if you are in the car with the keys in your possession, you are considered to be in control of the vehicle as per Utah law.
Since Zabriskie Law Firm, is here to help you, here are some simple tips for Utah motorists.
If you”ve had too much to drink and you need to sit in your parked car, there are two ways to protect yourself from getting a DUI charge.
- Make sure that your sober friend is sitting in the driver’s seat.
- If you don’t have a sober friend, then simply throw the keys on the ground outside of your vehicle. (Or maybe just underneath the vehicle, so nobody else will see them and take advantage of your situation.)
- No keys, no control = No control, no DUI
Without trying to sound like your father, but in the spirit of providing wisdom to a potentially bad situation, if you are going to drink to the point of excess, then perhaps it would be best to take it home where you can fall asleep at will. Having to stretch your faculties to their limits in order to “drive home” is not only dangerous for yourself and others, but avoiding such conduct can save you quite a bit of money in the long run as well.
Be safe, be wise and call us when you need us.