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Orlando DUI and Actual Physical Control: What is That?

Posted by attorney David Haenel

When an offender is arrested for DUI in the state of Florida and has physical control of the vehicle, it is defined as APC or Actual Physical Control. Those who have gone to their car to "sleep it off" after having too much to drink could still be charged with DUI and APC. The penalties for such an offense are stiff and include the possibility of jail time, a license suspension, possible probation time, and fines. For those experiencing this issue, it is important to hire an Orlando DUI Lawyer as soon as the opportunity arises. That way, all rights of the offender are protected.

What are the factors involved in an APC and DUI case?

In order for an officer to charge an individual with a DUI while being in actual physical control of the vehicle, they must meet the following conditions:

  • The driver is under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol, plus
  • The individual is driving the vehicle or they are in actual physical control, plus
  • When tested, the driver's blood alcohol level is greater than or equal to .08, thus impairing normal faculties.

Does the vehicle have to be in motion?

In the state of Florida, there are some prosecutors who will aggressively fight these cases. Therefore, the state's statutes specify the individual must be in or on the vehicle in order to be charged with DUI and APC. Some prosecutors have fought cases where the driver had passed out in the back seat of their vehicle or was sitting next to their vehicle at the time of their arrest. Whether the keys are in the ignition or not, the driver could still face charges. There have also been cases fought where the individual had placed their keys on the sidewalk outside of their vehicle and they were still charged.

What should the arrested individual do next?

Before agreeing to give a statement, either written or oral, the individual should first ask for an attorney to be present. Because each situation is handled on a case by case basis depending upon the individual circumstances, there is no one single way to set up a defense. The offender's lawyer will work aggressively to defend their client, but they must do so following an active question and answer period with the defendant. That way, they have a firm understanding of what happened before, during, and after the arrest. Some questions the lawyer will ask are if the keys were in the ignition, if the engine was running, and if the vehicle's lights were on. Because the majority of this information is hearsay after the fact, it is important for the defendant to provide as many details as possible.

Is it possible to defend a DUI and APC case?

When the offender is accused of having actual physical control of their vehicle during the DUI arrest, the state must prove these facts. There are some ways the DUI attorney in Orlando can do so, and they are as follows:

  • The identity of the driver is not verified, therefore the defense is based upon mistaken identity.
  • There is not enough evidence gathered against the driver by the officer.
  • Investigations were flawed or mistakes were made by law enforcement officials.

Additional resources provided by the author

Finebloom & Haenel P.A.
2480 33rd Street, Suite B
Orlando, Fl 32839
(407) 472-1912

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