Could a DUI charge be brought in New Jersey if the keys were not in the ignition?

keys in ignition DUI DWI charge conviction vehicle car keys

It may seem impossible for a person to be charged with driving while under the influence (DUI) charge even though they weren’t driving and their keys were not in the ignition. Nevertheless, it is possible to be charged with a DUI even if the keys were not in the ignition. This is because the law never stipulates that an individual has to be driving to be charged with a DUI. The law dictates that it is illegal for individuals who are impaired by illegal substances to “operate” a vehicle. Essentially, this means if they were in physical control of the vehicle they could face a DUI conviction. Unfortunately, things happen and people make mistakes. If you or someone you care about has been charged with a DUI, please don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Camden County DUI Attorney who can help defend your rights and prove you were not in actual physical control of the vehicle while intoxicated.

Could I face a DUI charge if my keys were not in the ignition in New Jersey?

An individual can be charged with a DUI regardless of whether their keys were in the ignition. A person could be charged with a DUI even if they weren’t driving. Ultimately, a person can be charged with a DUI if they were in actual physical control of their vehicle while intoxicated. Essentially, actual physical control over a car refers to whether an individual has the apparent ability to operate a car. To determine if an individual was in physical control of the vehicle the court will evaluate the following:

  • Where was the individual located in the vehicle (driver’s seat, passenger seat, or back seat)?
  • Was the individual in possession of the vehicle’s keys?
  • Did the individual have the engine running?
  • Where was the vehicle parked?
  • Was the individual’s vehicle disabled (broken down)?

An individual would not be considered in actual physical control of the vehicle if they did not have their keys, they were located in the backseat, and the engine was not running. Ultimately, keys do not have to be in the ignition for an individual to be charged with DUI.

What are the potential penalties?

In New Jersey, an individual with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or above is considered to be driving while intoxicated. DUIs are serious criminal offenses and individuals convicted face significant penalties. If this is an individual’s first DUI offense, the repercussions will be less severe. However, they can still have long-term negative impacts on a person’s life. The consequences of a second or third DUI are harsher than the repercussions for a first-offense DUI. It is imperative for individuals charged with a DUI to obtain the right legal representation to ensure their rights are protected.

If you have been charged with a DUI, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our skilled and determined attorneys. Our firm is committed to helping defend our client’s rights and interests.

 

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