Tulsa Attorney BlogDo This To Avoid an APC Charge

APC Carries Similar Penalties to a DUI

Video Transcribed:  My name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m an Oklahoma attorney. I want to talk to you guys today about a crime called APC. What is APC? APC is short for Actual Physical Control. And what it is dealing with is, if you are intoxicated and you are in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. And this is kind of a trap for the unwary.

And I say that because let’s say that you go to the bar and you’ve had one too many and you know you had one too many, and you decide to go sleep it off in your car, which might at the time seem to be the responsible thing to do. And one could argue in a pure, pragmatic sense, it would be certainly more responsible than trying to drive home.

Well, you do that, and about an hour into sleeping, there is a knock through your window and there’s a cop. And they slap the cuffs on you and arrest you, and you go to jail because you’re in actual physical control of that vehicle. You were in the car, and if you had the keys in your possession, you have the ability to start and drive that car, which makes you in actual physical control, and it is a crime. It’s a criminal misdemeanor.

Now, I mention this because this is a trap for the unwary because a lot of folks would think, “If I tie one on too hard, and I know I’m drunk and I’m buzzing and I don’t think I’m safe to drive home, I’ll just sleep it off in my car.” And it seems, it has the appearance of being the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, in Oklahoma, if you have your keys on you when you do that, even if you’re in the backseat of the car, you are violating the statute and you can be prosecuted.

So what should you do in that situation? Well, ideally, if you know you’re drunk and you can’t drive home, you should try to either get a ride, for example, take an Uber, or get a room. Go check into a hotel somewhere. That would be the ideal way to handle the situation because you’re definitely not committing a crime by doing either of those two things.

If you absolutely have to sleep in your car, I would recommend putting the keys somewhere where you cannot get them. Whether that means storing them away, whether that means leaving them in somebody else’s care, where you have them let you into your car to sleep.

Any of those situations where you cannot be found in possession of the keys tend to better your situation, make it less likely that you could be successfully prosecuted for APC. Obviously, the other way to avoid this is don’t get drunk. But, since I, realistically speaking, we’ve all been there.

We’ve all had one too many once or twice in our lives, and we’ve all found ourselves in a situation where it’s like, “Oh crap, how do I get home?”

The other thing I can tell you about the situation is I think if you know you’re going to go to the bar and drink, you should plan ahead. Have money for that ride, or have someone you can call. Have money for a hotel room. Go drinking at a bar that’s near reasonable accommodation.

No one’s saying you can’t have fun, no one’s saying you shouldn’t drink, just be aware of that and have a plan. Because it can get you jammed up. APC carries similar penalties to a DUI, and you don’t want that to be you, I don’t want that to be you.

So, have a plan and be aware that if you try to sleep it off in your car, you take the risk of getting arrested if you have your keys on you.

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