I got arrested for a DUI 23152 in Santa Clarita but was not driving. Can I fight this in court?

Santa Clarita DUI arrest with no driving

Answer by Phil Hache

Question:  I got arrested for a DUI  in Santa Clarita, CA but was not driving the car at the time.  Can I fight this in court? How can I be arrested for a  DUI if I was not driving?  I have a prior DUI, so this would be my 2nd DUI and I am extremely nervous about this and losing sleep.

Answer:  It is possible to be arrested for a DUI even though the officer did not personally see you driving.  It is also possible to be convicted of a DUI even though the officer did not see you driving.  That can be based on another witness seeing you drive, or on circumstantial evidence.

Circumstantial evidence can be many different things.  For example, if you were involved in a car accident and you were standing outside of the car with no one else around.  Or if your car was broken down in the middle of the highway and you were sitting in the driver’s seat when the officer arrived.

Also, although it is possible to keep out statements that you make to the officer, statements you made that you were the driver can potentially be used against you to establish driving as well.

That being said, it is also possible to get DUI charges dismissed.  What were the circumstances that led to the arrest?  Was there any indication to the arresting officer that you were just previously driving prior to the officer arriving on the scene?

If so, what were those indications?  Lack of driving being observed is helpful at several different levels, whether through getting the case dismissed at an early stage of pretrial hearings, or at trial.

In a trial setting, one of the factors an arresting officer will often testify about to try to get a DUI conviction is that he or she observed poor driving which pointed towards driving under the influence.  In a worst case scenario for you, the officer would not be able to testify about that since there was no driving observed by the officer.

Depending on the factors that led to your arrest, the “no driving” defense can certainly be much stronger than just limiting the arresting officer to what he is testifying about.

I would like to know more about your case.  Sounds like a case worth fighting. Call me at (818) 336-1384 to discuss further.

My office is in Sherman Oaks, but we can have an initial consultation over the phone if that is more convenient for you. I regularly handle DUI cases in Santa Clarita, CA.


Philip Hache
DUI Attorney
Handling DUI cases in Santa Clarita, and throughout Los Angeles and surrounding counties