How the Law Defines Driving in Prince William County

The laws that govern Prince William County DUI cases have many nuances and details, knowledge of which could prove crucial in avoiding DUI charges or convictions. Although it may seem obvious, the definition of driving can make a critical difference in the outcome of a Prince William County DUI case. A skilled attorney could help you learn about what law enforcement counts as “driving under the influence.”

Driving as Defined by Prince William County Law

According to Virginia law, driving in the context of a Prince William County DUI case means anything having to do with a car. The statute is commonly and colloquially referred to as driving while intoxicated, but that is not what the statute prohibits. The statute prohibits operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The law defines operating as just about anything having to do with a car, such as sitting on the driver’s side and putting the keys in the ignition to listen to the radio, or activating the heat to stay warm. If a person uses any functionality of the vehicle, such as lights or electronics, even if the car is not moving, they are operating that motor vehicle.

Passengers in Prince William County DUI Cases

It is not possible for a passenger to be charged with DUI in Prince William County. Someone sitting in the passenger seat cannot be charged if the driver of that car is caught driving while impaired.

The Role of Law Enforcement in DUI Cases

Law enforcement officers patrol parking lots near bars and restaurants looking for DUIs in Prince William County. If an officer sees an indication of impairment after observing someone’s driving behavior, they are going to pull them over.

An individual could be arrested for DUI on more than just a public road or a public highway. They could be charged with and convicted of a DUI on private property as well, such as a parking lot or their own driveway. In fact, perhaps one out of every five to seven cases involves operating a motor vehicle on private property as opposed to a public road.

Even if someone just sits in their car listening to the radio while they are drunk and waiting for a cab, they can be charged with a DUI in Prince William County. For example, a woman called an Uber to pick her up, and while she was waiting for the Uber she sat in her car to stay warm. She turned on the car, operated the heat, and charged her cell phone. The police officer asked her what she was doing and determined that she was impaired. She was charged with DUI even though she never left the parking lot nor intended to.

Call a Prince William County Attorney to Learn More

Being charged with DUI is difficult, especially when you thought you were taking the right precautions. Unfortunately, many people who never intended to drive or put others in danger can face criminal charges due to Prince William County’s definition of driving. If you would like to know more about how the law defines driving in Prince William County, call an experienced lawyer. They could analyze the facts of your case and help you craft a defense.