Most Illinois residents are aware that they can be charged with driving under the influence or driving while impaired after a traffic stop. However, what if the engine is off and the vehicle is not moving? Can the person sitting behind the wheel still be charged with DUI or DWI? The simple answer is yes.
For example, consider the case of a former Illinois alderman. A woman noticed a suspicious vehicle parked in front of her house and called police. Upon arrival, they found the 49-year-old man asleep behind the wheel of the vehicle. He had a sandwich in his hand and his shoes off. The keys were in the ignition.
Police claim to have smelled alcohol on the man. Supposedly, he was slurring his words and showed other signs of intoxication. He apparently refused to take a breath test, which could mean the automatic suspension of his driver's license for a year.
The former alderman has already filed to reverse the suspension of his license because he was not officially under arrest when he refused the breath test. He also claims that he did not refuse to submit to chemical or other testing when requested. He also asserts that the officer failed to have reasonable grounds to say that the man was in physical control of the vehicle or that he was driving.
These and other questions need to be answered for anyone who is placed under arrest for DUI or DWI when in a parked vehicle. It might be possible to overcome the assumption that an individual was in actual physical control of the vehicle, depending on the circumstances. Furthermore, an individual has a limited amount of time to object to a license suspension based on a breath test refusal. The sooner that criminal defense counsel can begin working on a case, the better the chances are that the matter can be satisfactorily resolved.
Source: kcchronicle.com, "Former Geneva alderman charged with DUI", Brenda Schory, April 21, 2017