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Charged with dui but not driving

Norfolk, VA |

me and my friends was leaving the beach the car got stuck in a ditch the guys want to get help some my other friend tried to push /rock the car out of the ditch the police pulled up and arrested her with dui it was her car but she wasn't driving a guy was he never came back we both want to jail me for drunk in public

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Attorney answers 7


Both of you need to hire a criminal defense attorney in your area ASAP. We have several avvo criminal defense attorneys on this site from VA that may respond.

I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..


And do you have a question?

Whomever was arrested needs to hire a criminal defense lawyer - most especially if they are innocent.

If you were arrested then get offline and into an experienced Norfolk, VA area criminal defense lawyer's office. The same advise applies to your friends.

I hope that I have been helpful to you.

First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)


Driving is not required for someone to be convicted of DUI in Virginia. Sounds crazy, but it's true. Virginia courts have interpreted Virginia law in such a way that it allows someone to be convicted of DUI even if the person never drove the vehicle.

I'm not exactly clear on what happened and didn't happen so I can't be any more specific at this point regarding whether whatever was done would be enough to qualify as either "driving" or "operating" under Virginia law.

DUI Defense is an extremely complex area of the law and your friend needs to hire a Virginia lawyer who has specialized education, training and experience in the field of Virginia DUI Defense in order to put her in the best position to get the best result. She could start by looking at the National College for DUI Defense website ( where she can find a list of Virginia DUI lawyers.

Best of luck to you both.

T. Kevin Wilson, Esq.
The Wilson Law Firm
Virginia DUI, Criminal & Traffic Defense
Fighting for Clients All Across Virginia
703-361-6100 / 540-347-4944
Trained on Standardized Field Sobriety Testing
Trained on the Intoxilyzer 5000
Trained on the Intoxilyzer 8000
Trained on the Intoximeter ECIR II
Trained on Police RADAR / LIDAR

T. Kevin Wilson

T. Kevin Wilson


And in Virginia, the "driving" / "operating" of the vehicle does not have to occur on a highway for one to be convicted of DUI. Under Virginia law, you can be convicted of DUI for driving you own vehicle around in your own back yard.


Unfortunately, all the Commonwealth needs to show is the accused was "operating" the motor vehicle on a highway for a DUI conviction. Your friend would be wise to retain counsel.


DUI law has a very broad definition for driving. If your friend was in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignitition while you were trying to push the car from the ditch, then she is deemed to have been driving at that moment regardless of who was driving on the road before the car ended up in the ditch. Your friend will need to hire a lawyer for this case as soon as possible and may need you to testify as to who was driving at trial.

You may also want to consider retaining counsel for the drunk in public charge if you have any concerns about it appearing on your record. While this charge does not carry a severe penalty in court (a fine of no more than $250), it can have an impact on some career choices. Also, people who are not citizens can have immigration problems if there are 2 or more convictions on their record. An attorney may be able to negotiate an agreement to drop the DIP charge.


Certainly you need to hire local counsel. There many variables regarding a DUI and drunk in public that need to be considered.

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Virginia law makes it unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. There are cases dealing with what the term "operate" means. I recently had a client in Norfolk with a similar fact pattern (involving a ditch and a DUI charge), although he admitted to driving, and we still avoided a conviction for a DUI. Your friend needs to hire an attorney to represent her and protect her rights.

Responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and Peter John Louie, P.C., a law firm specializing in Reckless Driving Defense. Responses should be considered and used for informational purposes only. Every case is unique in its facts, and all legal matters should be discussed with a licensed attorney prior to making any decisions or taking any actions.

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