Alabama DUI & Actual Physical Control Laws

Al.com reports that a woman dressed as a zombie was arrested for DUI in Alabama when she was found asleep in her car. On the morning of November 1st, Birmingham police responded to a call that an unresponsive woman in a car was allegedly shot. Police arrived and found the victim in question was actually an intoxicated woman still dressed in her Halloween costume. The costume was ‘pregnant-zombie’, and the woman had fake blood covering the front of her body.

Police arrested the woman for DUI. Alabama’s DUI law states that a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while their BAC is at or above .08%, and the definition of actual physical control is defined by judicial decision.

In 1980, Alabama DUI law changed dramatically. The term “intoxication” was taken out, removing the burden from law enforcement to substantially prove intoxication of a driver. Before 1980, the legal term for drunk driving was driving while intoxicated, and the law changes replaced DWI with driving under the influence, or DUI. This change made it easier for prosecutors to argue that a person could be under the influence of alcohol without showing signs of intoxication. Under Alabama law, a vehicle does not have to be in a state of operation but it must be capable to some degree of operation. For instance, in 1999, Nicholas Mester was arrested for DUI for steering an inoperable vehicle which was being moved along by another vehicle.

A motorist who is asleep behind the wheel and is in possession of keys can be charged with DUI in Alabama. If a person is physically capable of starting the engine or causing the vehicle to move, then direct evidence such as a law enforcement officer observing swerving or movement of the vehicle is not always needed for a drunk driving conviction.

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