DUI Facts: 5 Ways You Can Get a DUI Without Driving

Driving under the influence is a crime and a terrifying one at that. Over time, drunk driving has been responsible for more deaths than any other violent crime. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of the dangers of driving under the influence and how to prevent getting a DUI arrest.

While driving is the most common way to get a DUI, there are other ways you can be charged with drunk driving without getting behind the wheel. Suppose you’ve been arrested for DUI although you weren’t even driving, you’ll need to quickly hire a skilled attorney specializing in driving defense to help get you off the hook. Subsequently, you’ll need to be conversant with the basic DUI facts to avoid getting a DUI arrest again.

This article explores ways you could be charged with a DUI without exercising actual physical control of the vehicle. Read to the end!

What Is a DUI?

Driving under the influence, or DUI refers to operating a vehicle when impaired by alcohol or drugs. DUI laws vary by state, but in general, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above is unacceptable.

If convicted of a DUI, the defendant will face a criminal sentence (such as community service, a fine, or possibly jail) and a driver’s license suspension, depending on the severity of the incident and if it’s a first offense.

However, an attorney may be able to help the defendant obtain restricted driving rights, such as utilizing an ignition interlock device (IID) or having a legal limit to drive to and from work.

Although most DUIs are prosecuted at the state level, drivers can face federal charges if they were driving while drunk on federal property, such as national parks, forests, monuments, federal buildings, military facilities, or associated parking lots.

5 Ways of Getting a DUI Without Driving

Although the majority of the scenarios where someone gets charged for a DUI is when such a person is caught driving a vehicle while intoxicated, there can also be some other examples where a person can be arrested for a DUI without being behind the steering wheel. Let’s have a look at such cases below:

1. Sleeping in Your Parked Car

Perhaps you’ve had a couple of alcohol and realize that driving isn’t a brilliant idea. Did you know that even resting in your parked car while intoxicated might result in a DUI arrest? The severity of this DUI case is determined by the positioning of your vehicle’s keys while in the driver’s seat and if it appears that you intended to drive while intoxicated.

A traffic police officer doesn’t need to see you driving a car to arrest you for DUI. An attempt to drive a car might be defined as having the car keys in the ignition and the vehicle running while parked. Suppose you went out and had too much to drink, it’s best to leave your car in the parking lot or make someone give you a ride home while you’re intoxicated.

Furthermore, if the BAC (blood alcohol content) test results (or other evidence) suggest impairment, the mere desire to drive while in the driver’s seat may be enough to warrant a DUI arrest.

An allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems

2. Operating Other Motorized Vehicles Under the Influence

Motorized vehicles like lawnmowers, ATVs, 4-wheelers, golf carts, and so on may not be fast, but they can still result in a DUI if you’re drunk while operating them. Of course, these vehicles don’t have to be street-legal to be charged with DUI. If intoxicated, stay away from motorized vehicles, even if they barely drive at 3mph.

3. Riding a Horse Under the Influence

Riding horses or vehicles drawn by animals can potentially result in DUI convictions. Although police officers are less likely to arrest someone for DUI when riding a horse (or another animal), it’s vital to understand that arrests can still occur in these scenarios.

However, there’s a limit to this arrest as the police officer needs to gather reasonable inferences based on direct evidence. After all, the defendant driving the horse has the right to query such an arrest since it’s not related to driving a motor vehicle.

While some may argue that a horse isn’t a motorized vehicle, it’s something that individuals under the influence should avoid because they can be arrested and jailed. In some circumstances, an animal cruelty charge is also possible.

4. Riding a Bicycle Under the Influence

This scenario demonstrates how a motor vehicle isn’t even required before you can get a DUI charge. Being intoxicated while riding a bike can also result in DUI accusations (and the same resulting penalties upon conviction).

So, if you think you’re being clever by riding your bike to and from the bar, think again. You can be stopped and arrested for DUI if you appear to be impaired or if you’re involved in a crash.

5. Refusal to Take a Breathalyzer Test

You may be asked to undergo a breathalyzer test if you’re involved in an accident, pulled over for speeding, or because law enforcement suspects you have been drinking. This test can assess whether you’ve been drinking and how high your blood alcohol concentration is.

You have the freedom to refuse a breathalyzer test, but there’s a consequence to doing so. In addition to an instant suspension of your driver’s license, you may be punished in some states for refusing to take the test, and you’ll immediately be charged with DUI. You may also be compelled to install an interlock ignition device (IID) in your vehicle for up to a year.

What Are the DUI Penalties?

If you’re convicted of a DUI, you may face several punishments. The specific penalties you’ll encounter will be determined by the state in which you’re convicted and the facts of your case. Let’s have a look at some of the significant penalties that a DUI defendant might face below:

1. Jail Time

The length of time you’ll spend in jail or prison for a DUI case is mainly determined by your past offenses. Certain aggravating factors, however, can also play a role here, and they’re as follows;

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DUI Convictions on First Offense

Under California law, a first-time DUI case is usually categorized as a misdemeanor and penalized by two days in jail and an additional 48 hours if such a person refuses BAC testing.

However, if you work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer, you may be able to mitigate the severity of the penalties you face. You may also be able to avoid jail time and have the offense eliminated from your permanent record.

DUI Convictions for the Second and Subsequent Period

The maximum potential jail term for a second or subsequent DUI may be increased. However, the statutory minimum jail term for a second violation is more likely to be longer than it is for a first offense.

Under California law, when convicted of driving under the influence for a second time and subsequent period, a minimum of 96 hours to a maximum of one year of mandatory jail time is given to such a person. Don’t worry, an experienced DUI lawyer can always help you out in such scenarios.

Aggravating Factors and Felony DUIs

A variety of additional factors might influence the length of jail time you can expect for a DUI conviction. Some jurisdictions, for instance, impose harsher penalties on DUI offenders whose blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest was exceptionally high. Several states also have penalties enhancements for DUI cases.

For a felony DUI—either because the driver murdered or wounded someone or because the driver has a history of DUI convictions—prison terms for a lengthy number of years are often standard. Likewise, the state law, the facts of the case, and the judge’s discretion at trial determine the penalty’s severity.

2. Fines

DUI convictions often come with penalties that vary significantly by state. However, the same elements that enhance jail time typically raise the amount of the fine the driver may anticipate paying.

In other words, the fine typically increases in proportion to the number of past convictions the motorist has. Naturally, DUIs with aggravating factors often lead to higher fines.

For instance, a typical first DUI charge under California law involves fines ranging from $390 to $2,000. Fines for repeated crimes and DUI with aggravating factors can range from $390 to $2000 as well.

3. Suspension of a Driver’s License and Ignition Interlocks

A DUI offender faces the possibility of having their license suspended for an extended length of time (either by court order or mandate of the state department of motor vehicles). Suspension durations, like other penalties, are often linked to the number of past offenses the driver has.

A driver’s license might be suspended if they refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test. The suspension issued for an illegal refusal is usually longer than what the motorist would face otherwise. However, during a DUI suspension, a driver may be able to get a “hardship license” to drive to and from locations such as work and school.

Some states ensure that the individual (especially a repeat offender) doesn’t go back on the road while under the influence. The state officials may seize or cancel the car’s registration, either temporarily or permanently. Alternatively, the state officials may mandate an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in the offender’s vehicle.

A judge hammer representing authority

Avoiding DUI Charges

One of the worst things that may happen to a person is being pulled over for a DUI. Therefore, you need to avoid being pulled over in the first place.

Suppose you’re heading out for a nightcap or attending a party where social drinking is included, here’s what to do:

1. Don’t Get Intoxicated

The best approach to avoid a DUI is to abstain from alcohol. Having a designated driver is an excellent idea if you’re going out for some liquor. If caught driving while intoxicated, you’ll have to pay the strict penalties.

Suppose the drunk driving led to an accident, it can be even worse seeing as you may be responsible for someone else’s death.

2. Ensure You Eat Something While Drinking

Eating before consuming alcohol will help to slow the alcohol absorption into your system. When you drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol is absorbed faster, and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises. It’s best to have some appetizers to neutralize the effect of the alcohol to avoid the dreaded 0.08% BAC.

3. Keep Your Vehicle in a Good Condition  

A broken light or an outdated license plate is enough to get you hauled over. That’s especially true at night when authorities might easily pull you over for a faulty headlight or blinker.

4. Obey Traffic Laws

While it’s good to always obey the law, it’s best to abide by it much more if you’ve had a few drinks. When changing lanes, remember to utilize your signal light and stay below the speed limit. You don’t want to give an officer a reason to stop you and administer a field sobriety test.

5. Maintain Easy Access to Your Vehicle Documents 

You must always access your driver’s license, license plate number, registration, and insurance info while driving. If you fail to provide such documents, the police officer might have no choice but to inform you to do a field sobriety test. With that, the arresting officer can find evidence that might put you in an uncomfortable situation.

6. Focus on Driving

Although you may be able to hold a cell phone call and change radio stations when sober, it isn’t a great idea if you’re drunk. Your response time is slower, and you must focus entirely on the road to prevent even minor swerves.

7. Check for Any DUI Stop In Your Neighborhood

An officer must stop you probably at a checkpoint, before initiating a DUI arrest after some field sobriety exercises. So, if you know you’re guilty of drinking, try and avoid such checkpoints, or better still, ask someone to give you a ride home. That way, you can avoid any form of circumstantial evidence from the police.

While these are all effective techniques to avoid a DUI, the main focus should be on driving carefully and arriving home safely. If you believe you have had too much to drink to drive safely, call a friend or a cab and arrange for transport home.

How a DUI Attorney Can Help You

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, consider contacting a good DUI attorney immediately. Drunk driving is a complex matter that needs the services of an experienced attorney specializing in DUI/DWI defense.

Your DUI defense attorney can advise you on plea bargains and sentence options and will be with you throughout the process until a judgment is reached.


When it comes to DUI arrests and charges, the simple reality is that anybody can be charged with DUI whether or not you were driving a vehicle or even sitting in the driver’s seat.

DUI sanctions are intended to be severe to discourage individuals from driving while drunk. Suppose you’ve been charged with DUI, you need to understand the potential implications to enable you to make an informed decision regarding how best to proceed with your defense. At this point, the best thing you can do is contact a criminal defense attorney for a free consultation and legal assistance.

Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI? Our team of experienced DUI attorneys is ready to get you off the hook. Our skilled attorneys are dedicated to protecting our clients and employing the best DUI defense strategies to facilitate evidence suppression and get the case dismissed.

We have the expertise and experience needed to offer you proficient legal counsel. Utilize our free consultation offer today and contact us, let’s discuss your DUI case.