In 1993, police stumbled upon a situation which would be the source of much controversy and disagreement regarding exactly when a person is drunk driving. On a very early June morning, two Naperville police officers found a person asleep in his car, which was parked in an apartment complex parking lot. The car’s engine was running but the car was in park. The sleeping defendant was laying across the two front seats.
The police initially struggled to wake the defendant, but when they did he admitted to sleeping in his car because he had consumed too much alcohol to safely drive home. The police officers subjected the defendant to a field sobriety test that indicated to them that he was, in fact, intoxicated. The defendant was arrested, and a later breathalyzer test showed that the man had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.18 percent.
Defendant Claimed to Only Have Been Using the Heater
While there was no doubt that the man had been under the influence of alcohol, there was doubt as to if he should be considered a drunk driver when he had not actually driven the vehicle. The defendant argued that he only had left the car’s engine running because he needed the heater to make it through the cold night. The Illinois Vehicle Code states that a person should not “drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle” while under the influence of alcohol. The prosecution argued that the defendant was both under the influence of alcohol and in actual physical control of the vehicle. Despite protest from the defendant and his legal counsel, the man was eventually found guilty of driving under the influence—a conviction that was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court. He was sentenced to one year of court supervision and had to pay a $250 fine.
Drivers Should Be Educated About DUI Laws and Their Rights as Motorists
While we generally think of DUI convictions as fairly straightforward, there are many examples such as this one when a person is at risk of getting a DUI and they do not even know it. If you have been charged with a DUI, you may be facing severe criminal consequences. You may have your driver’s license suspended, be required to pay steep fines, or even be imprisoned. Those charged with driving under the influence need a skilled Joliet DUI defense attorney who has experience protecting defendants’ rights and keeping them out of jail. For a free, confidential consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, call 815-740-4025 today.