The Temporary Shelter DUI Defense Strategy in Arizona

Did you know you don’t have to be driving an automobile to be convicted of DUI? The wording of Arizona’s DUI laws makes it a crime to be in control of a vehicle when an individual is impaired by either alcohol or drugs. Courts in Arizona have stated in several cases that an individual can be in physical control of an automobile without driving.

A Closer Look at Physical Control in the Context of Driving

The Temporary Shelter DUI Defense Strategy in ArizonaConsider a situation in which you head out to a local nightclub for drinks, dancing and socializing. You and your friend down a couple drinks. Your blood alcohol concentration eventually moves up above the state’s legal limit of 0.08. However, you are not too drunk to operate your vehicle so you head on over to your truck.

You sit in the seat of your vehicle, holding your key in your hand. Seemingly out of the blue, a police officer appears by your car and taps on the driver side window. He states he witnessed you stumbling to your vehicle and requests that you step out of the vehicle. The officer proceeds to ask a couple questions. You are then arrested for DUI.

However, the wrinkle to this hypothetical situation described above is that you did not start your vehicle. One would think this means the case is fairly clear cut. However, Arizona’s law is a bit different. In Arizona, merely sitting in the driver seat of a vehicle while holding your vehicle key is sufficient to establish actual physical control. This is all that is necessary to establish an individual’s guilt in the context of DUI. In other words, even though you did not drive a vehicle while drunk, there is a chance you will end up being convicted. However, an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney will help by creating a solid legal defense such as the temporary shelter defense.

About the Temporary Shelter Defense

The temporary shelter defense is used when an individual is not in actual physical control of the vehicle when charged with DUI. Though a DUI in Arizona is possible even when not driving, an attorney worth his or her keep will contest that actual physical control was established as the state’s temporary shelter rule states a driver is not in actual physical control of a vehicle if it is being used as a temporary shelter. However, in order to assert such a defense, it must be successfully argued that the individual in question was not using the automobile for transportation but as a place to obtain rest when too drunk to drive.

In other words, even if you are drunk, you might be able to retain your freedom simply because you were either asleep, parked on the side of the road or otherwise not in actual physical control of your automobile. In the context of the law, you were using your automobile as a temporary shelter in order to safely rest after being drunk to the point that it would be unsafe to drive. This is not to say you can avoid a DUI conviction in every situation by turning off your vehicle’s engine and stating you were resting.

The bottom line is prosecutors will pursue DUI charges in spite of the fact that your DUI criminal defense attorney uses the temporary shelter defense. As an example, if there is video footage that provides evidence of drunk driving, the temporary shelter defense might not result in a victory. Furthermore, if you admit to driving drunk when the police question you, the temporary shelter defense is not guaranteed to work. The moral of the story is the temporary shelter defense has its merits yet it does not provide immunity. Rather, it is a legal dui defense strategy against the accusation of actual physical control when the automobile was stationary.