Question: What are the factors considered in a non-driving DUI case in Maryland?
Answer: There’s about five factors that, again, are laid out in the Atkinson case that the judge is going to weigh. Now, some of them are more important than others—obviously, where the car is parked is important, whether the car is on is important, whether the keys are in the ignition. If the keys are in the ignition and the car is on and you’re behind the driver’s seat even asleep, you’re very likely going to be found guilty of operating the motor vehicle. If you are in, say, the passenger seat, you do not need to be in the driver’s seat to get a DUI in Maryland.
All they need to prove is that you had dominion and control of the motor vehicle, which is basically the same as saying actual physical control. And that counts as operating. So you could be asleep for a couple hours, but if you blow a positive breath test and they, you know, they’re going to apply the prongs of the test, which are all these different factors as far as whether they keys are in the ignition, but any one or two of them can be missing, and if the other ones are there, then you can be found guilty.
It is a very, very hard argument to win in an Atkinson case, because the facts have to be quite in your favor. The prongs of the test have to literally line up perfectly for you to win that kind of a case. So it is very easy to get a DUI if the car is on, the keys are in the ignition, even if somebody’s in a different seat, depending on several other factors.