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Actual Physical Control Provisions Of Utah’s DUI Laws

Most people think that DUI requires the individual to be caught driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, in certain cases, the individual can be charged with DUI merely because his or she is sleeping it off in a parking lot. The prosecutor is not necessarily required to prove that the person drove the vehicle to that location, although these cases depend heavily on the particular facts of the case.

Under Utah law, if the individual is in the driver’s seat behind the driver’s seat with possession of the ignition key and with the apparent ability to start and move the vehicle, then at trial the jury could be asked to return guilty verdict because there has been an adequate showing of “actual physical control.” If the prosecutor is unable to make an adequate showing, then the criminal defense attorney may be able to file a motion to dismiss prior to trial.

Many important defenses apply to the DUI involving “actual physical control” or “drunk parking.” For instance, the actual physical control provisions of Utah’s laws may not apply if the vehicle was immobile because of mechanical trouble. See Garcia v. Schwendiman, 645 P.2d 651 (1982).

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