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Don't touch the wheel as a drunk passenger, you could face a DUI

We hear it from police and on ads for alcohol: find a sober ride. Don't drink and drive. For a lot of us, this message will forever be ingrained in our minds, even when we are intoxicated and considering how we will get ourselves home. For those who have heard the warnings, they may ask a friend who they believe to be sober to drive them home. This is the responsible thing to do, right?

Now consider for a moment that the friend you have asked to drive you home is not as sober as they initially claimed to be. While driving you home, you look up to notice that the vehicle has drifted into oncoming traffic. Impulsively, you jerk the wheel to avoid the oncoming cars. But this causes the car you're in to collide with another vehicle on your side of the road.

Even though your friend is the one driving, you might be asking yourself: could I be charged with a DUI? If you're driving here in Florida, the answer could be yes. That's because of our drunk-driving laws that consider a person guilty of driving under the influence if the person is in "actual physical control of the vehicle." If an officer were to consider you to be intoxicated when you grabbed the wheel, they could accuse you of exerting control of the vehicle, meaning both you and your friend could face DUI charges.

Whether you think such a situation could happen to you or not, you should know that no matter what, you do have the right to seek proper legal counsel following a DUI arrest. And as you can imagine, because of the intricacies of a situation such as this, you will no doubt need exceptional counsel to help clear your name for trying to do the right thing but accidentally making a mistake in the process.

Source: leg.state.fl.us, "Title XXIII, Chapter 316, Sec. 316.193, Driving under the influence; penalties," Accessed Feb. 26, 2015

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