DUIs: You Don’t Have to Be Driving or Under the Influence to be Charged


It should come as no shock that I have written about DUIs previously (click here to read “DUI, or Driving Under the Influence;” here to read “DUI does not always equal Drunk Driving;” and here to read “6 Ways People Don’t Realize They Can Get Into Trouble for DUIs“).  But one thing I bring up in conversation from time to time still shocks listeners: that you don’t have to be driving or under the influence to be charged with a DUI.

Tennessee Code Annotate § 55-10-201 defines who is a party to (and therefore can be charged with) a DUI:

Every person who commits, attempts to commit, conspires to commit, or aids and abets in the commission of any act declared in chapter 8 or parts 1-5 of this chapter to be a crime, whether individually or in connection with one (1) or more other persons, or as a principal, agent or accessory, is guilty of the offense, and every person who falsely, fraudulently, forcibly or willfully induces, causes, coerces, requires, permits or directs another to violate any provision of chapter 8 or parts 1-5 of this chapter is likewise guilty of the offense.

So what is one example of a way you could be charged with a DUI without being drunk or the driver?  What about if you were out with a friend?  You haven’t touched a drop of alcohol but your friend has.  What if you noticed that your friend appeared “tipsy” but he asked to drive and so you got into the passenger seat and let him?  DUI?

Think twice before you answer “no.”  This is pretty much what happened in the case of Williams v. State, 352 S.W.2d  230 (Tenn. 1961).  Click here to read the Court’s full opinion in Williams, but in that case the Tennessee Supreme Court held that the person who aided and abetted the person who actually was driving under the influence was also guilty of a DUI.  And, from personal experience, cases do arise where a person is charged with DUI when they were not driving and/or under the influence.


The author of TNLawyerLee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee.  If you or someone you know need an attorney, please click herefor Mr. Lee’s contact information and contact him today for a free consultation.  Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website,www.TNLawyerLee.com or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to TNLawyerLee by clicking here.

The information on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and you should consult with an attorney in your state about the specific details of your case. Nothing on this site or in correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship and information you send prior to the forming of an attorney-client relationship may not be kept confidential. Neither this site nor correspondence with Nicholas Lee or his agents shall be construed as a promise nor as undertaking a duty regarding you or your case. Nicholas Lee and his agents are not retained as your legal counsel unless a valid written Representation Agreement is reached regarding your specific case.

Copyright © 2014. Nicholas W. Lee, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved. This site’s content may not be used without the prior written consent of Nicholas Lee.


One comment on “DUIs: You Don’t Have to Be Driving or Under the Influence to be Charged

  1. […] law (and as readers may already know from other TNLawyerLee articles on DUIs, like this one or this one), these cases can be fraught with complexities – if you or someone you know should ever find […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s