Blurry dashboard of a car


David B. Harrison June 18, 2019

In order for a prosecutor to prove a DUI case against a person in Colorado, the prosecutor has to prove that the person was in "actual physical control" of the vehicle. That is the definition of "driving" in Colorado. Certainly moving the vehicle down the road will prove this, but if a person is just sitting in the car, it gets more complicated. If the keys are in the ignition and the radio is on, then some case law suggests that it would be easy to put the car in motion, so that might be "actual physical control" - but it would ultimately be up to the jury to decide. The underlying issue is really if the person had the intent to drive - or did they plan to just sit in the car and listen to the radio or a ball game? Another complicating factor can be where the car was found - in a parking lot (near their home) or on the side of a highway (how did it get there? when did the person in the car drink alcohol?, etc.). An experienced DUI lawyer can work through these issues and obtain the best possible outcome for you. I recently convinced a prosecutor to dismiss a felony DUI case because the client was just sitting in his truck, parked along the side of a street near his house, because his house was being cleaned and he had to go somewhere. Ultimately the prosecutor agreed he could not prove that the client intended to drive the truck, even though he was sitting in it, keys in the ignition, radio on. The case was completely dismissed.