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Fact or Fiction? DUI Charge in a Parked Vehicle

Parked vehicle

Most of us recognize that facing a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is a serious scenario. Perhaps you have watched a friend wind up with a DUI on their record and you realize the high cost of this charge. Due to this, you are careful. You try to prevent yourself from ever driving down the road while you are intoxicated. The question remains, though, are you careful enough? Most of us envision DUI charges as a result of weaving wildly down the road at night. However, there are bizarre scenarios in which you can find yourself facing a DUI even though you did your best to be safe. One of these strange situations is being charged with a DUI when you are in a parked vehicle. We are here to set the facts straight about DUI charges in parked vehicles, and what to expect if you are facing this unique scenario.

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Cocktail glassAs we mentioned above, you might very well be someone who takes extra precautions to ensure you are not driving down the road recklessly after drinking. Perhaps you were out at the bars in Old Town with all your friends having a great time and things got further out of hand than you planned. By the time everyone is leaving the bars, you realize you have crossed the line and you no longer are capable of operating your vehicle. Your friends are all gone and you look at your phone to call an Uber, but it’s dead. You decide to head to your car and charge your phone. You climb behind the wheel, turn over the ignition, plug in your phone, and lean back in your chair to sleep off your liquor.

Next thing you know a cop is tapping on your car window and you find yourself being asked to take a breath or blood test under the suspicion of drinking and driving. How is this scenario possible? You had no intention of ever moving your vehicle. You insist to the cop that you were not planning on driving. You were in fact doing the responsible thing.

Sadly, this is not fiction. You can face a DUI charge even if you were sitting in a parked vehicle.


Avoiding a DUI requires more than not driving your vehicle down the road while drunk. It requires avoiding any factors that could incriminate you. Reasons why a cop may still charge you with a DUI include:

  • Your keys were in the ignition
  • You were located in the driver’s seat of the vehicle
  • The engine was on

If you find yourself in a scenario where you cannot drive home, you have no access to a cab or Uber, and your car is the safest place to wait, there are some things you can do to help your case. First, do not put the keys in the ignition. It is wisest to put your keys somewhere that demonstrates you had no intention of using them. Next, lay down in the very back of your vehicle. Put as much distance between you and the steering wheel as possible.


It can be easy to become outraged by the situation you are facing, however, your anger will not win your case. The first thing you should do when facing any DUI charge, no matter the circumstances, is to contact an experienced DUI lawyer. Fill out the form below to quickly contact our team or give us a call. We can help you build a case to defend yourself against this unique charge.