What Does “In Actual Physical Control Of The Vehicle” Mean? 

State Police Traffic Stop

Are you facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges but aren’t sure what it means if it says that you were “in actual physical control of the vehicle”? The good news is that this charge is not entirely difficult to understand. You should learn exactly what it means so that you can begin to work on a defence with your criminal lawyer to prove your innocence or to lessen your proposed sentence in court. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of what it means to be in control of the vehicle at the time of the DUI: 

Actual Physical Control

Maybe you knew that you were too intoxicated to drive home, so you relied on a friend to get you from point A to B. Unfortunately, they also had a few too many to drink and ended up on the side of the road from an accident or because they passed out behind the wheel of the car. They will likely be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), but what does that mean for you as the passenger? 

The law looks at who was in actual physical control of the vehicle when an accident happens. This is designed to protect passengers who were not truly responsible for the driving of the vehicle. In other words, you won’t be charged with a DUI unless you were the one behind the wheel when things went awry. 

You must be able to control the motion of the vehicle to be considered “in actual physical control of the vehicle”.

This also means that you cannot be charged with a DUI if the car is incapable of being moved. For example, if it’s up on blocks and cannot be driven. You may be sitting behind the wheel while intoxicated, but there’s no risk of the car going anywhere. As a result, it would be quite ridiculous to be charged with a DUI. 

Proof of Being in Physical Control

There are a few factors that the legal system will consider when determining if you were in actual physical control of the vehicle, starting with your position in the car. You’re less likely to fall into this category if you weren’t in the driver’s seat. 

Other factors to consider include the location of the ignition key and if the engine is running. If the car is inoperable, it may also be difficult to be charged with being in physical control of the vehicle. Officers may also consider where the car is parked and how it came to be in that spot. 

Seek Legal Counsel

If you’re facing charges of being in actual physical control of the vehicle while driving under the influence, you need the top criminal lawyers in Winnipeg. Get the help you need to understand the charges brought against you and start to build a defence with Brodsky Amy & Gould. Give us a call today to see how we can help you with your case!