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Snohomish County Physical Control Defense Lawyers

DUI Without Driving Charges in Snohomish County, WA

It is a common misconception that stopping to rest in your car, in order to “sober up,” and then continuing to drive is a safe option. As a matter of fact, doing so will not necessarily eliminate the possibility of a driver being charged with a DUI. 

In such a circumstance, the driver could be prosecuted with a physical control charge. “Physical control” is defined in Washington State as being in possession of the vehicle keys and sitting in the driver seat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs despite not operating the vehicle. Physical control imposes the same criminal and driver’s license penalties as driving under the influence (DUI).

As a DUI-related crime, you need to call DUIHeroes if you’re facing charges or were arrested for actual physical control. Our Snohomish County physical control defense lawyers are led by a DUI specialist with years of study and trial experience devoted exclusively to alcohol-related crimes. 

We’re recognized as a national authority on DUI defense, giving us the skills you need to fight your charges. In fact, we have a 90% average success rate when it comes to getting DUI charges reduced or dismissed.

Call 1–800-DUI-HERO or contact us online for a free consultation. Let’s protect your future and your freedom.

What Is Actual Physical Control?

The legal term ‘actual physical control’ applies to individuals being prosecuted for physical control charges, even if they were not seen driving a motor vehicle. This is the primary difference between a physical control charge and a DUI. 

If the defendant is in actual physical control of the vehicle and is capable of operating the vehicle, he or she can be prosecuted regardless of whether or not they were in motion or the car was on. While this is the case in Washington State, it is important to note that this law varies from state to state. This law is meant to prevent the likelihood that a driver under the influence will drive.

Man Sleeping On Driving Wheel

Common examples of situations that could result in physical control allegations include but are not limited to:

  • A driver sitting in their parked vehicle with keys in the ignition
  • A driver sitting in a vehicle that has broken down or run out of gas
  • A passenger who may have assumed control of a vehicle or touched the steering wheel

While there are a variety of ways in which a physical control charge may be brought against you, the common element is the defendant doesn’t have to be driving the vehicle in order to be charged. 

In many situations, individuals who face these allegations were simply waiting in their vehicle to sober up or to be picked up for a ride, made the decision to sleep in their vehicle overnight, were not planning or intending to drive, or otherwise believed that they were abiding by the law.

Physical Control Law & Penalties in Snohomish County

Criminal penalties and driver’s license consequences for a physical control conviction will be the same as those imposed by courts and the DOL in DUI cases. Physical control is considered a gross misdemeanor and can be punishable by fines, terms of imprisonment, probation, driver’s license penalties and restrictions, and other repercussions. In cases in which aggravating circumstances are involved, including prior DUI convictions, prosecutors may push for heightened charges and penalties.

According to the RCW § 46.61.504, a person can be found guilty of being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any drug if they:

  • Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher within two hours after being in actual physical control of the vehicle; or
  • Have a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher within two hours after being in actual physical control of a vehicle; or
  • Are under the influence of or affected by alcohol, any drug, or both.

Depending on the circumstances concerning the charge, there may be a number of defense strategies available, including challenging DUI evidence. In relation to physical control charges, defendants may defend themselves against these serious allegations by proving, clearly and convincingly, that they moved their vehicle safely off the roadway. 

A Snohomish County DUI physical control attorney from our firm can focus on these and other possible defense tactics after analyzing your case and the unique circumstances of your arrest.

How to Beat a Physical Control Charge in WA

Just as a DUI conviction has the potential to negatively impact all aspects of one’s personal, professional, and financial well-being, a conviction for being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence can be a life-changing experience. 

As such, individuals who face these allegations should understand that although harsh penalties may be at stake, swift and decisive action can aid in creating a defense capable of helping to protect one’s future and driving privileges.

If you or your loved one currently stand accused of a physical control allegation, do not delay in discussing your case with an experienced and passionate Snohomish County DUI physical control attorney.

Contact DUIHeroes at 1–800-DUI-HERO for the proven representation you need with our Snohomish County DUI physical control lawyers.


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