Can You Get a DUI Outside Your Car? Law Firm Explains When Charged with DUI

Irfan Eralp Kavakli

· 3 min read
Can You Get Charged with a DUI Even Outside of Your Car? A Comprehensive Guide


Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a topic that has its fair share of myths and misconceptions. One common question is whether you can get charged with a DUI even if you're not actively driving a motor vehicle. The answer might surprise you. In this blog post, our law firm aims to clarify the conditions under which you can be charged with a DUI outside of your car.

What Constitutes a DUI?

A DUI, or "Driving Under the Influence," typically involves operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or other substances that impair your ability to drive. Blood alcohol levels, behavioral cues, and field sobriety tests are common metrics used by law enforcement to determine intoxication.

When Can You Be Arrested for a DUI?

You can be arrested for a DUI not just when you're driving but also when you're in "actual physical control" of the motor vehicle. This means you could potentially get a DUI even if the car is stationary but the ignition is on, or even if the keys are merely within reach.

Blood Alcohol Levels Matter

The threshold for intoxication often relies on blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Exceeding the legal BAC limit can result in a DUI charge, even if you're not observed driving.

Can You Get Charged With a DUI Outside the Car?

Yes, you can. If law enforcement believes you had the intention to drive while intoxicated, or you were in actual physical control of the vehicle, you may be charged with a DUI. Circumstantial evidence, such as the location of your car keys or the state of your vehicle's ignition, could play a role in this determination.

Examples of Getting a DUI Outside the Car

  1. Sitting in the Driver's Seat: If you're sitting in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition, you can be charged with a DUI.
  2. Engine Running: Even if you're not in the car, having the engine running while you're intoxicated could result in a DUI charge.
  3. Near the Vehicle: If you're standing or sitting near your car and show signs of intoxication, you could be charged with a DUI if it’s concluded that you had the intent to drive.

Legal Consequences

The legal consequences of a DUI charge can be severe. Penalties can include fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. For this reason, if you find yourself in such a situation, contacting a reputable law firm specializing in DUI cases is crucial.


The notion that you can only get a DUI while driving is incorrect. You can be charged with a DUI even in circumstances where you're not actively driving but are in control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Understanding these nuances can be the difference between a close call and a criminal charge. Always remember to drink responsibly and never operate a vehicle under the influence.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Consult your attorney for legal advice tailored to your specific situation.

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