Close this search box.

DUI without Driving

With the warm weather comes summer parties. For those who will be drinking, there are not many things that will put more of a damper on your summer fun than getting charged with a DUI.

After a long summer night drinking at the bar with your friends, you realize you are too intoxicated to drive. Instead of calling a designated driver or cab, you decide to sleep it off in your car for a while. You walk to your car in the parking lot and sit down in the driver’s seat and automatically place the keys in the ignition. You settle into the seat for a nap and close your eyes.

Suddenly you hear a knock on the window and turn to see a police officer asking whether you have been drinking. The officer requests you perform field sobriety tests. Afterwards, you are charged with Driving Under Influence (DUI) and arrested.


You were being responsible and not driving while you felt you were too intoxicated. Is this right? The answer is that you do not have to be driving in order to be charged with DUI in Tennessee. According to Tennessee Code Annotated, “It is unlawful for any person to drive or to be in physical control of any automobile or other motor driven vehicle on any of the public roads and highways of the state, any shopping center, trailer park, apartment house complex or any other location which is generally frequented by the public at large, while (1) under the influence of any intoxicant,…” Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-401

In this case, merely having the keys in the ignition of your automobile in the parking lot constitutes being in “physical control” of an automobile according to the Tennessee DUI laws; therefore you can be charged with a DUI. It is important to understand these DUI laws. If you have been charged with a DUI in Murfreesboro or Middle Tennessee, call The Clarke Law Firm for valuable representation.