Most people in North Dakota understand that driving while under the influence of alcohol can lead to criminal charges. However, DUIs are not the only form of drunk driving charges. This is not necessarily common knowledge, and it can leave some defendants feeling confused about their charges, potential criminal consequences and their options for the future.
Many DUI charges begin when a police officer spots a driver he or she suspects might be driving under the influence. If the officer arrests the driver, it is usually on a DUI charge. DUI charges are used when the person arrested was stopped by a law enforcement officer.
Actual Physical Control charges are different. APC charges are not as well-known but are still quite serious. An officer can arrest an intoxicated person on an APC charge if they are not driving, but are otherwise still in control of a vehicle. For example, an alleged drunk driver whose vehicle is stuck in some snow might be charged with an APC. A person behind the wheel of a disabled car could also be arrested on an APC charge.
A defendant who is charged with an APC will be tried in the same manner as a defendant facing a DUI for drunk driving. This means that the accused can still lose his or her driving privileges and have to shell out hefty fines. Some might even face jail time. Still, understanding the distinction between these two charges can be important for North Dakota defendants who are constructing their criminal defense plans, so thoroughly examining all charges and evidence may be a good place for these individuals to start.