While we generally refer to the offense of DUI as Driving Under the Influence, Pennsylvania law actually prohibits a person from driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after consuming a sufficient amount of drugs or alcohol. The phrase "actual physical control" is not defined in the DUI law but has been explained in many Pennsylvania cases. For example, a person was found to be in actual physical control of a vehicle to justify a DUI charge when the car was parked on the berm of a road approximately fifty yards from the establishment where the suspect had purchased beer; the vehicle was protruding into traffic lanes with the engine running and the high beams on.
In another DUI case, the court found that the suspect was not in actual physical control when the suspect was found asleep in the driver's seat of a running car that was parked in the lot of the establishment where the suspect had been drinking. These types of cases are very fact sensitive and should be reviewed with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Also, as the definition of actual physical control is based upon the court's ever-changing interpretation, it is extremely important to discuss this type of case with a defense lawyer that is experienced and knowledgeable of the most recent DUI cases considering this issue.