The answer is yes.

In Illinois, you may be guilty of DUI if you are in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. To convict you, the state need only show that you had the capability or potential of operating the car.

To determine actual control, courts look at factors including whether you are in the driver’s seat in possession of the ignition key and whether you have the physical capability of starting the engine and moving the vehicle. Illinois courts have convicted drivers based on the following:

  • Defendant was zipped in a sleeping bag inside the backseat.
  • Defendant was pushing his car down the road with no one else present.
  • Defendant was staggering near a smoking vehicle which was registered to him.
  • Defendant was slumped on the passenger side of the vehicle.
  • Defendant’s head was on the driver’s side door with legs extended across the front seat.
  • Defendant was standing outside the open driver’s side door of a truck even though another person was nearby, and there was no proof as to who owned the truck.

If you have been charged with DUI, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. An attorney may be able to raise doubts about whether you were actually in control of the vehicle. Even if you were in control, can the state prove you were under the influence of alcohol? How well did you do on any field sobriety tests? Does the police video show you driving safely? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

Sources: People v. Cox and People v. Davies.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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