Can I Get Arrested for a DUI in a Parked Car in Atlanta?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jun 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Atlanta Police Car

Atlanta, Ga. - As a result of this weekend's most recent incidents, I've received a lot of questions and concerns based on DUI laws in the state of Georgia - particularly within the City of Atlanta.

Rayshard Brooks, an alleged DUI suspect, who was sleeping in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in Atlanta was shot and killed by officers during his arrest process. I am not here to analyze the video or to provide my opinion on the arrest itself. I can't speak to those questions as I was not there and I have not seen the evidence in the case.

However, as an Atlanta DUI Attorney, I can speak to the law on DUI in Atlanta. Many people are concerned and confused as to how Brooks could be investigated for DUI when he was not technically driving and if he could actually be investigated for Atlanta DUI in a Parked Car. I will explain below.

DUI in a Parked Car

As I discussed in a post last week, many people understand the basis for DUI charges. A person can receive a DUI in Georgia if you are accused of driving while under the influence:

Of alcohol to the extent it is less safe for them to drive.

Of any drug, including illegal drugs, over the counter drugs, and prescription drugs.

Of any aerosol, glue, or other vapor, which makes it less safe for them to drive.

Of a combination of drugs, alcohol, and/or inhalants, such that it makes it less safe for them to drive.

Or of alcohol which causes their BAC to be 0.08 grams of alcohol or more from the time of driving until any time within three hours of driving.

The law actually states that a person “shall not drive” or “be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle.” Whether or not someone is in physical control is often a judgment call to be made by the investigating officers. Police typically look at the following clues in order to make the decision about whether or not a person is in actual physical control of the moving vehicle:

  • Warm tires or warm hood.
  • Keys in the ignition.
  • Car parked in the middle of a road.
  • Car parked on the side of a road.
  • Physical damage to the vehicle.
  • A single person in a parked car with no other plausible driver.
  • The car is in drive, etc.

Practice Note:

The shooting of Rayshard Brooks was senseless and terrible. There is no doubt that the situation is appalling. The sad reality is that it appears that Brooks was attempting to do the right thing by sleeping it off. Now that wouldn't be a legal defense had he been arrested but it is a persuasive argument.

If you or a loved one has been arrested, call our offices now. We can help you with your case today.

Trial Strategy Note:

Many people have told me that when they realized that they were too impaired to drive, they decide to pull-over and find a safe place to sober up.  As stated above, technically they would still be guilty of driving under the influence in Georgia.

However, from a moral point of view, the described person is doing the right thing by pulling over.  In fact, many would argue that this amounts to an abandonment of the crime of DUI.

Legally, pulling over does not end a person's legal liability.  However, it creates an affective argument to a jury for your DUI Lawyer in Atlanta Georgia.  I have successfully argued to a jury that to convict a person of DUI after they stopped driving provides the wrong incentive.  Essentially, it would provide more of an incentive to drive home in order to avoid arrest.  This would put the general public at far more risk.   

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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