Arizona law states that "it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle" while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In other words, you do not have to be driving to be arrested for DUI. If you were in actual physical control of the vehicle, you could also be charged, convicted and issued serious penalties.
What Is Actual Physical Control?
Actual physical control is a fairly nebulous legal concept. Whether or not a person had actual physical control over a vehicle is determined based on a variety of factors.
Questions that may be asked to determine actual physical control include: Was the car running? Was the ignition on? Was the key in the ignition? Was the key in the driver's pocket or somewhere else altogether? Was the driver in the driver's seat or somewhere else in the car? Was the driver awake or asleep? Were the headlights on? Was the heat or air conditioner on? Where was the car stopped?
"So I Can Get Arrested If I Pulled Over To Sleep It Off?"
In theory, the concept of actual physical control is intended to apply to those whose current or imminent use of a vehicle could cause harm to themselves or others. It is not designed to work against people who were being safe and getting off the road when they were not in a condition to drive.
However, the complexity of the actual physical control concept means that people who were trying to do the right thing may get ensnared and charged with DUI. In these situations, it is important for the accused to enlist an attorney who is well-versed in this legal concept and can argue that the circumstances showed that the arrested party was not a danger and the charge should be dropped.