Preston Parker, who plays wide receiver for Florida State, was arrested for DUI after local police allegedly found him asleep in the driver’s seat in the early morning hours. Parker’s vehicle was parked, but the key was in the ignition, the engine was running and his foot was on the brake pedal according to the article on ESPN.com. Parker submitted to the field sobriety exercises requested by the police officer, was arrested and then submitted to a test of his blood alcohol content (BAC).
We discuss this arrest to highlight one issue in DUI criminal case law of which some people are not aware. Someone may read this article and wonder how a person can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (commonly referred to as DUI or DWI) when he was not even driving.
Unfortunately, this is not just a simple matter of Parker’s criminal defense lawyer pointing out that Parker was not driving when the police saw him so his case must be dismissed. In Florida, the crime of DUI can be committed when a person is driving a vehicle or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent his/her normal faculties are impaired. While this issue will surely be contested by Parker’s criminal lawyer in his DUI case, under Florida law, a person who has the keys in the ignition with the engine running could be considered in actual physical control.