My son got charged with DUI. He was repairing a flat tire by the side of the road wen a cop came by and “helped” him. The cop did not ever see him drive. How can he be charged with this?
The officer, and the prosecutor, can use circumstantial evidence to try to prove your son was driving. Did your son admit to driving? Was he the only person at the scene? Was it his car? The fact the officer did not see him driving is not a magic bullet that will automatically win the case for him.
Inferences can be used against your son, even though the officer did not see him driving. However, the case is likely more defensible than a case where the officer witnessed him driving. We are a firm in Decatur (right down the street from the DeKalb Courthouse) and have extensive experience defending DUI. In fact, Troy Hendrick founded the firm after prosecuting DUIs in DeKalb County back in the early 2000s. Please contact us as this type of offense has many hidden repercussions.
The DUI charge sounds weak and likely able to be challenged. To answer your question definitively there are many details that would need to be asked.
I am assuming your son was the only adult present that was licensed to drive. Depending on the conversation your son had with the Officer he may have stated a time frame when he last drove. If that is the situation, it is possible depending on his blood alcohol level at the time of the conversation with the Officer to calculate whether he was over the limit when he admitted to last driving. Absent some basis for the Officer to know he was driving and know his blood alcohol level, I think it will be difficult to prove the DUI. These case are very fact specific. If your son would like to give me a call, I would be happy to speak with him for free to get all of the facts. My name and number is Miguel m. Debon 470-375-9441 and I am located in Lawrenceville, GA.
If the officer and no witnesses observed your son's driving manner, that provides a defense to your son. Please be aware that a person accused of DUI can lose their privilege to drive while waiting for their court date. I recommend you seek legal counsel immediately to determine if your son falls in that license category and to commence work his defense.
There could be other ways in which your son could be proven to have driven within the specific period of time provided for under Georgia law. A reliable answer would require a thorough review of the facts after a conversation with your son and a review of the police report and any available dash cam video.
The short version is that if your son was on the side of the road with a flat tire, the logical inference is that he was driving the case. I am going to guess that he also had a conversation with the police during which he admitted that he was driving. The law does not require direct observation of the driving.