Actual Physical Control of a Car in Broward Co. DUI Cases

The drunk driving statute (Title XXIII, Ch. 316 Section 193) states that a defendant must be in actual physical control of a vehicle to be convicted of driving under the influence. While we will get to a more specific explanation of what that means later in this post, keep in mind that actual physical control, or “APC” as it is often called by DUI defense lawyers, does not necessarily mean driving the car.

Broward DUI Defense By now, most people have probably heard that world famous golfer Tiger Woods was arrested in Jupiter, Florida for driving under the influence.  We have all seen the mug shot of him that was taken at 3.a.m. in which he looks less than his best.  However, in this particular case, it should be noted that he was given a breath test and blew 0.000, as discussed in a recent news article from CNN.  This reading, coupled with his own alleged admissions about taking prescription drugs, means this is what is known as a DUI drugs case.When officers first discovered Woods’ vehicle, it was on the side of a road with the brake lights lighted (indicating his foot was on the pedal), and the engine was running.  His right turn signal was also on.  Woods was allegedly asleep behind the wheel when officers arrived and had to awaken him.

In a case such as this, as our Broward DUI defense attorneys can explain, the issue of actual physical control will likely come up should the case go to trial.  However, it should be noted that Woods has not been convicted of any crime in connection with his recent arrest.  He is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt by a judge or jury.  This is not only true of Woods, but also of you if you have been arrested for a DUI, as we are all afforded a presumption of innocence under the U.S. Constitution.

If you are in a car and have the keys in the car, that may be enough for a prosecutor to get the case before a jury for them to decide if you were in actual physical control of the car, but it is not necessarily enough to convict. For example, if you left a bar and decided you were too drunk drive and had nowhere else to go, you might decide to sleep in your car.  Fortunately, in our state, as opposed to others, this would not necessarily express actual physical control of the car, and your experienced DUI defense attorney could use that in your defense.

On the other hand, if you were found behind the wheel of a running car, it would be much more difficult to prove you were not in physical control of the car.  However, this doesn’t mean you will be convicted, as APC is only one element.  They must also prove you were intoxicated, and that is often much harder than police would want you to believe.

Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

Tiger Woods’ car had flat tires, he was asleep at wheel, police say, May 31, 2017, By Jill Martin and Rosa Flores, CNN

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Intoxication Defense Presented in Broward Domestic Violence Trial, March 29, 2017, Fort Lauderdale Domestic Violence Arrest Lawyer Blog

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