It may sound impossible, but in some very specific cases, a person who was not the driver in a vehicle could potentially be arrested for DUI. Read on to learn more about these specific cases. If you are charged with DUI or another related charge, you can contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to request a free legal consultation.
Situations in Which a Passenger Can Be Charged with a DUI
These very specific situations could lead to a passenger being charged with a DUI:
- The passenger helped the driver steer the vehicle
- The drunk driver switched seats with the passenger
- The arresting officer cannot be sure who drove the vehicle
It is also important to remember that a passenger could be charged with other drug or alcohol related crimes such as underage drinking, drug possession, or underage possession of alcohol.
Potential Penalties for a DUI Conviction in California
Now let us consider what the potential penalties are for a conviction of DUI in California. Generally speaking, the penalties include a misdemeanor criminal charge, fines, and suspension of a driver’s license. However, these penalties can be significantly more depending on the situation. For example, if a person is accused of a fourth DUI, or they gravely injured someone, they are likely to be sent to prison if convicted.
Defense Options for Passengers Charged with a DUI
If you were a passenger in a vehicle and were charged with a DUI, then you need an attorney who can help get the charges dropped. If it was an issue of you helping the driver steer the vehicle, even if you were not in their seat this could technically make you guilty of a DUI. However, if you were doing so to prevent an accident that could have injured you and others, then you may have a valid defense.
If you were driving but saw you were getting pulled over and quickly switched seats with the passenger who was not drunk, then you can still be arrested for a DUI. It is likely that the police would see this action taking place. We would defend you in this instance the same way we wound defend anyone accused of a DUI.
If the arresting officer was not sure who was driving the vehicle and arrested you even though you were not driving, then we will work to bring evidence to prove this. Potential types of evidence may include eyewitness reports, the dash cam footage from the police officer, information stored on your phone, or data collected by nearby cameras.
No matter the specifics, if you were charged with a DUI then we strongly recommend you contact an attorney as soon as possible. You can reach Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.