One need not be actually driving a motor vehicle to run the risk of suffering DUI type penalties. A common albeit less frequent charge is that of Physical Control.
RCW 46.61.504 sets out the elements necessary for a conviction of this charge. And while the elements are different, the penalties remain the same.
The Difference Between “Physical Control” and DUI
The major obvious difference between “Physical Control” and DUI is that “driving” is not an element of the charge. One can be charged with physical control in Washington if he is sitting in the driver’s seat, the passenger seat or even the back seat of a parked car. People have been charged with Physical Control in cases where they are not even in the vehicle.
Defenses Available for a “Physical Control” Charge
A less obvious difference between Physical Control and DUI is that in Washington, there are defenses to the former that are not available for the latter. It is a defense to Physical Control if it can be shown that the vehicle was parked safely off the roadway before being observed by the officer. It is also a defense if the vehicle could not have been made readily operable.
If arrested or charged with Physical control in Washington, contact one of our Washington DUI attorneys for a free consultation.