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One defense to an accusation of driving drunk is the defense of not being the driver. However, Illinois has an extremely broad definition of "driving" for the purposes of a DUI charge. It includes actual operation of a vehicle or a showing that a person was in actual physical control of a vehicle, even though the vehicle was not moving. Actual driving or even an attempt to drive is not required. People v. Brown, 175 Ill.App.3d 676, 530 N.E.2d 74, 125 IllDec. 156 (2d Dist. 1988).
If a person is behind the wheel with the keys, he or she will be deemed to be driving, even if the engine is not running or the person is asleep. People v. Heimann, 142 IllAPp.3d 197, 491 N.E.2d 972, 96 I..Dec.593 (3d Dist. 1986). There is even a case where an Illinois court held that a person in the Or if a person has the engine running to keep warm on a cold winter night, while he "sleeps it off", he may be deemed to be driving, even if he is not in the driver's seat. Naperville v. Watson, 175 I..2d 399, 176 Ill.App.3d 293, 530 N.E.2d 672, 125 Ill.Dec. 514 (3d Dist 1988). Therefore police often charge people with DUI without ever actually having seen the defendant "drive" in the conventional sense.
We have successfully used this defense to get DUI charges dismissed for an Illinois case involving an out-of-state defendant.