Do the keys have to be in the ignition to get a DUI?

keys in the ignition DUI

Driving while under the influence (DUI) of illegal substances is a serious criminal offense. Individuals who are convicted of a DUI will face significant repercussions for their reckless actions. However, in certain cases an individual may be convicted of a DUI while their car is parked. An individual can be charged with a DUI if they were in actual physical control of their vehicle. This means if an individual had possession of their keys, even if they were not in the ignition, they could face a DUI charge and face serious penalties. Ultimately, the court looks at the overall intent of the motorist. In the event that you have been charged with a DUI, get in touch with a determined Pensacola DUI Defense Lawyer who can help defend your interests. Our firm is committed to helping our clients achieve a favorable outcome.

Will I still face a DUI if my keys were not in the ignition?

In Florida, if a person is inside their vehicle with their keys in their possession, they can still face a DUI conviction even though the keys were not in the ignition. Law enforcement officers do not have to witness an individual driving their vehicle to make a DUI arrest. Not having the keys in the ignition does not mean an individual didn’t intend on driving while they were impaired. If an individual had the keys in the ignition, they would face a DUI conviction because they were in actual physical control of the vehicle.

What are possible defenses?

Unfortunately, in most cases, not having the keys in the ignition is not enough to avoid a DUI conviction. However, there are possible defenses that could help an individual’s case. Firstly, the accused may claim their keys were not in their possession or were stored somewhere out of their reach such as in the trunk. An individual may also show they were not sitting in the drivers seat, but rather they were in the passenger seat or the backseat. Additionally, they may show there was another person inside the vehicle that could have driven who was sober. An individual can prove the engine was never started. Furthermore, a person can be charged in their vehicle for “sleeping it off.” Essentially, the court will take into account intent and whether or not there was evidence the driver was in actual physical control of the vehicle. It is imperative for individuals convicted of a DUI to acquire the right legal assistance. A skilled lawyer can help investigate the circumstances of the arrest and gather pertinent evidence that proves an individual was not in actual physical control of the vehicle.

If you have been convicted of a DUI, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our trusted and dedicated team members who can help defend your rights. Allow our firm to fight on your behalf today.