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DUI without driving: What is Physical Control?

The controlling statute, T.C.A. § 55-10-401(a) provides that "[i]t shall be unlawful for any person or persons to drive or to be in physical control of any automobile or any motor driven vehicle on any of the public roads and highways of the State of Tennessee, or on any streets or alleys ... or any other premises which is generally frequented by the public at large, while under the influence of any intoxicant... ." (Emphasis added.) The plain language of T.C.A. § 55-10-401(a) suggests that the statute can be violated in one of two ways by "driving" or by being in "physical control" of an automobile while intoxicated. The courts below found that the Defendant violated the statute by being in physical control.

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