Month: November 2017

Can You Be Charged With DUI If You’re Not Driving?

Can You Be Charged With DUI If You’re Not Driving?

If you have been charged with DUI, it means that you are being accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But, it’s important to understand that you do not actually have to be driving in order to be charged with this crime.

The law does not define “driving,” but it does define the word “driver.” According to Colorado state law, a driver means any person who either drives or is in physical control of the vehicle. Look closely at this definition. The word “or” here indicates that the driver does not have to be actually driving the vehicle in order to be charged with DUI as long as he is in physical control of the vehicle at the time of his arrest.

The law does not define “physical control,” which means this is open to interpretation by police officers and the courts. You may think that the state would need to prove that the vehicle was in motion at the time, but that’s not the case. In 1986, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that it was not necessary to prove that the vehicle was moving in order to establish that someone was in physical control of the vehicle.

So, what does it mean to be in physical control of the vehicle? Physical control of a vehicle is typically determined by one or more of these factors:

  • The defendant’s location in the car
  • Whether or not the keys were in the ignition
  • Whether or not the engine was running
  • The location of the vehicle
  • Any other factors that lead law enforcement officers to believe that you had the intention or the ability to put the car in motion.

Based on this loose definition of physical control, it’s possible for someone to be arrested when he is not driving. In fact, if you decide to start your car and take a nap in the driver’s seat while intoxicated, a police officer can arrest you for driving under the influence. In this case, sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition may be enough to show that you were in physical control of the car.

Many innocent people are accused of driving under the influence even when they were not actually driving their cars. If this happens to you, let an experienced criminal defense attorney at Reisch Law Firm fight the charges that have been filed against you. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is Probable Cause?

What is Probable Cause?

Everyone should be familiar with their rights so they know how to protect them when interacting with law enforcement. One of the terms that you should know is probable cause, which is a key issue that arises when a police officer wants to conduct a search, make an arrest, or obtain an arrest warrant.

Arrests

In order to arrest someone, the officer must establish probable cause. This means the officer must have sufficient reason to believe that the individual has committed a crime. For example, let’s say a jewelry store is robbed and a police officer encounters someone who matches the description of the suspect. The officer may notice that the individual is wearing jewelry that is similar to the pieces that were stolen. These two pieces of evidence would be enough to establish probable cause, which means the officer could make an arrest. If an arrest is made without probable cause, the arrest will not be valid.

Officers must also establish probable cause in order to obtain an arrest warrant from a judge. The officer must show the judge that he has reason to believe the person who is named in the arrest warrant has committed a crime. If the judge believes the officer does not have probable cause, the warrant will not be issued.

Searches

To obtain a search warrant from a judge, a police officer must establish probable cause. The officer must have evidence that shows a crime was committed at the location or evidence of a crime that was committed will be found at the location.

Most of the time, a police officer will need a warrant to search your property, however there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, a police officer only needs probable cause to search a vehicle during a traffic stop. Let’s say a police officer pulls you over and then sees what appears to be a small bag of drugs sitting in your passenger seat. This would give the officer probable cause to search the vehicle. The smell of illegal drugs could also be enough evidence to establish probable cause and conduct a search of the vehicle without a warrant.

If you have been charged with a crime, seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney at once. The attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will carefully review your case to determine if the officer had the right to arrest or search you. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.