Actual Physical Control: Can I Be Charged With a DUI If I Wasn’t Driving?

Actual physical control of a motor vehicle in Illinois

Actual Physical Control: Can I Be Charged With a DUI If I Wasn’t Driving?

Common sense would lead to the conclusion that driving is a crucial element in any DUI prosecution. However, Illinois DUI laws defy common sense. In Illinois, a person can be charged with a DUI even if they were not driving a car at the time of their Illinois DUI arrest and if convicted you face the same consequences as any DUI conviction.

Illinois DUI laws are found at 625 ILCS 5/11-501 et. seq. Section 501 states that a person can be charged with an Illinois DUI if the person was in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle while under the influence.

What is Actual Physical Control in Illinois DUI Laws?

A common situation that I deal with is when a DUI client has been arrested after “sleeping it off” – click to read more on the charges pressed. In these situations, it doesn’t really matter whether the keys were in the ignition. The only relevant issue is whether the car that you in could be driven. Actual physical control is ultimately a question of fact that needs to be decided by a trier of fact. Factors a court considers are whether you were in the driver’s seat; where the keys are in the ignition; whether the car was on; and whether the car could be turned on and driven. If you have doubts, you should make sure you ask your DUI attorney these questions.

Conclusion

Driving under the influence is a serious offense and is punished severely. Although driving is in the title of the charge, driving is not required to prove an Illinois DUI. If the State is able to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence, the State will be able to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

As a former prosecutor, I can tell you first-hand that actual physical control cases are one of the hardest DUI cases to prove. Now as an Illinois DUI attorney, I’m using my experience as a former prosecuting attorney to help people charged with a DUI based on a theory of actual physical control.

Call my office today and we can talk about how I can help beat your Illinois DUI case.