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There is a difference between “driving” a vehicle and “operating” a vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And so, you may be wondering whether having your keys in the ignition will cause you to get a DUI charge. Read on to discover what the New Jersey laws are surrounding keys in the ignition and DUI charges and how one of the seasoned criminal defense attorneys in Hackensack, New Jersey at McNerney & McAuliffe can come to your defense.

Do the keys have to be in the ignition to get charged with a DUI in New Jersey?

Essentially, you may be charged with a DUI regardless of whether your keys were in the ignition. So, this means that you may be charged with a DUI even if you were not driving. This is because the only necessary proof is that you were in physical control of the vehicle at the time of being accused of a DUI.

How will my DUI charge be determined?

In order to determine whether you were in physical control of the vehicle at the time of your DUI accusation, the law enforcement officer or the New Jersey court may review the following questions:

  • Where were you sitting in the vehicle (i.e., driver’s seat, passenger seat, or back seat)?
    • If the answer is the back seat, then you were not in physical control of the vehicle.
  • Were the vehicle’s keys in your possession?
    • If the answer is no, then you were not in physical control of the vehicle.
  • Was the vehicle’s engine running?
    • If the answer is no, then you were not in physical control of the vehicle.
  • Was the vehicle parked?
  • Was the vehicle disabled?

What should I do if I am charged with a DUI?

In the answers to the above questions insinuate that you may be guilty of a DUI, then you must retain legal representation immediately. This is an accusation that should not be taken lightly, as you can be facing any or all of the following penalties:

  • Jail time or incarceration.
  • Hefty fines.
  • Hefty automobile insurance surcharges.
  • Other associated fees.
  • License suspension or revocation.
  • Required installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
  • Required attendance at a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program.
  • Required community service.
  • Permanent criminal record.

So, without any further hesitation, you must consult with one of the competent criminal defense attorneys in Hackensack, New Jersey. We will work to reduce or eliminate all the penalties placed against you as best as we can. Pick up the phone and give our firm a call today.

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