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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

Being Pulled Over for a DUI When Not Driving in Texas

A DUI or DWI offense is when a motorist is pulled over for driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other toxic substance. However, there are times when a police officer can attempt a DUI arrest, usually due to reasonable doubt. According to the DWI law in Texas, setting up checkpoints for sobriety tests is illegal, but officials can stop a motor vehicle for wellness checks.

Drunk driving on Texas roads can result in severe penalties accompanied by a DUI conviction, so it's imperative to know which DWI offense was committed and seek legal help by contacting the best DWI attorney in Tarrant County.

Being Convicted Of DUI Arrest Without Driving

Being Convicted of DUI Arrest Without Driving

A police officer can pull over a motor vehicle and place DUI charges without even necessarily having to see the intoxicated person in the driver's seat. How's that? Well, there must be three undoubted elements that assist in the making of a DWI arrest:

  1. The convicted was intoxicated, even if it's not evident visually.

  2. The defendant was in a public space.

  3. The motorist was operating a vehicle in a public area.

Let's break each point down into different sections to see how they impact DWI laws:

  • Wrongful Intoxication

There are two ways by which someone in the driver's seat can be counted as illegally or wrongfully intoxicated on Texas roads. Firstly, the blood alcohol concentration has to be above 0.08%. Secondly, the convicted should not be able to demonstrate the correct usage of mental and physical functions adequately.

As a result, the blood alcohol content and actual physical control can allow an arresting officer to apprehend the convicted on a DUI charge rightfully. Also, if you are arrested for a DUI, you may want to learn more about DUI probation.

  • Public Space

There's a defense strategy DUI convicted individuals can use to prove innocence in court. All they need to do is provide evidence of not driving in a public space. It doesn't matter if the convicted was operating or driving a vehicle in a private area, as DUI charges can only be held against public offenses.

  • Motor Vehicle Operation

There's a difference between driving a vehicle and operating on a parked car or motorbike. It doesn't matter if there were keys in the ignition or if someone in the driver's seat was preparing to turn the vehicle on, as both examples perfectly describe "operating" a vehicle.

As a result, being intoxicated while seen in control of the vehicle can be counted as a DUI charge, regardless of the car actually being driven, by legal definition.

When Can a Police Officer Arrest for a DUI Without Driving in Texas?

Typically, most DUI cases are brought to trial due to the intoxicated or reckless driver being spotted by a police officer. However, that's not the issue in some rare situations. In general and under normal circumstances, a law enforcer cannot warrant apprehension without substantial proof of a misdemeanor or criminal record.

However, a DUI or DWI charge can be raised if an officer has probable cause and circumstantial evidence from other witnesses. Here are a few scenarios where a law official can enforce directives, even if there is no actual physical control of the vehicle:

  1. The law officer must see the convicted, or someone has to report the convicted sleeping behind the wheel.

  2. It doesn't matter if there was someone else in the passenger seat or the back seat in the car parked. In this case, the police officer is permitted to carry out a mandatory wellness check.

  3. A bystander has to report to authorities of the convicted driving or operating a car erratically. Law officers can then approach the vehicle and attempt to search for intoxicating materials.

  4. The arrest occurs if the enforcers can't find the necessary driver's license but retrieves drugs. At this point, the intoxicated individual can be subjected to a breathalyzer test alongside a blood test.

  5. Someone notifies the police department of a road accident that the convicted was a part of, or directly involved in, regardless of having actual physical control of the automobile.

How To Defend DUI Offense Cases

How to Defend DUI Offense Cases

There are a few ways in which the convicted can defend their first offense, regardless of whether the person was behind the steering wheel at the time of intervention:

  • No One Admits Anything

As long as no one admits who was driving the vehicle at the time of an accident or a police raid (considering there is more than one person in the picture), law enforcers will not be able to warrant an arrest on probable cause for a DWI case.

  • No Eyewitnesses Available

Unless anyone sees the convicted sleeping while intoxicated in a parked car or with the motor running or even engaged in actual physical control of the vehicle, there is no way officers can arrest someone for driving under the influence.

  • No Proof of Intoxication While Driving

Example: The accused went home and slept after drinking a few glasses of alcohol, only to wake up to an officer charging for a DUI, as per eyewitnesses. However, there's no way to actually prove that the defendant driving was under the influence, as it could be possible, they drank only after reaching their home.

There is a way for law enforcers to still warrant an arrest, given that a breath or sobriety test shows high levels of alcohol in the blood, matching the suspected time of driving.

Actual Physical Control Over the Motor Vehicle

According to Texas laws, drivers don't necessarily need access to the ignition to be applicable for DUI or DWI charges. As long as the suspected motorist is intoxicated with a blood alcohol level over 0.08%, there is a chance for individuals to receive their first DUI case.

The actual physical control exception statute states that even sleeping in the backseat while under the influence can give the individual the ability to operate the vehicle.


Whether it's a first-time offense or a repeated crime, an experienced DUI lawyer can help motorists understand their vehicle-ownership rights. At the same time, the attorney will be able to gather sufficient evidence to prove that the suspect was not driving at the time of intoxication.


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