Can You Be Charged with DUI Without Driving?

Pennsylvania Court Further Defines ‘Operation’ of Vehicle in DUI Cases

asleep at wheel - dui in pennsylvania - dui lawsIn Bold vs. Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Commonwealth Court clarified the precedent for the term ‘operates’, which is used in the Implied Consent Law under Section 1547(b)(1)(ii) of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, 75 for license suspension cases.

This definition expands the meaning to include that being in the driver’s seat of a running vehicle while intoxicated is reasonable cause for police to request chemical testing.

All judges of the appellate court heard the case and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel ruled against Thomas Bold, despite his vehicle being stationary at the time of the arrest and with no indication Bold had been driving the vehicle.

A dissenting opinion was filed by Judge Leavitt.

PennDOT suspended Bold’s license for 18 months following his arrest when he failed to submit to a chemical test. He had previously been convicted of DUI in 2007.

According to the case filed on November 21, 2022:

Officer Gelnett testified that he was on patrol at the Capital City Mall on January 25, 2020, at 6:14 p.m., when he was dispatched to check on “a vehicle in the parking lot that was running with a gentleman passed out behind the wheel.”

He located the vehicle, which was unlocked and running, with the headlights on. He opened the driver’s side door and shut off the engine. Officer Gelnett then woke Licensee, who was in the driver’s seat, smelled of alcohol, and appeared “obviously intoxicated.”

Officer Gelnett stated that the vehicle “was legally parked in a parking space” near the mall’s liquor store and a Primanti Brothers bar and restaurant. Licensee told Officer Gelnett that he had been in Primanti Brothers watching a game, “and [that] he just [went] out to his truck and was sleeping in his truck [until] he thought he was able to drive home.”

Licensee refused to submit to a preliminary breath test and insisted that he was not driving. Officer Gelnett responded that Licensee was sitting behind the wheel of a running vehicle and, thus, was in actual physical control of the vehicle.

Do you have a question concerning a DUI case? Call our team of Pittsburgh DUI lawyers for a free consultation.

Call Ketchel Law at 412-456-1221. We take your case seriously and are committed to providing quality legal advice. 

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Filing a License Suspension Appeal in Pennsylvania

Is it Possible to File an Appeal if Your License has Been Suspended in Pennsylvania?

There are numerous reasons a driver’s license might be suspended by PennDOT, including obvious reasons like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or being cited with reckless driving.

drivers license suspension pennsylvaniaThere are also other non-driving reasons like failing to appear in court, failing to pay traffic tickets, and not paying child support.

If your license was suspended by PennDOT due to any of those reasons, you do have 30 days to file an appeal.

Appealing a DUI license suspension through PennDOT is NOT the same as filing an appeal for DUI, which is done under a court of law.

While overturning a license suspension through PennDOT is a difficult challenge, there may be some benefits under certain circumstances to filing an appeal, pushing back the date of a license suspension.

One benefit of filing a license suspension appeal is that you can get a delay in the suspension for six months to one year. If you are currently employed and need a vehicle to get to work or for child care, this is one option that can help in the short term.

If you were charged with DUI and you refused a breathalyzer or a blood test after your DUI arrest, your license will be automatically suspended. An appeal against a license suspension from PennDOT will go through the civil courts, but you will also face charges in criminal court for DUI.

If you were denied or recalled an Occupational Limited License (OLL) or your Probationary License denied, recalled or cancelled, the same process applies and you have 30 days to make an appeal.

There is typically a $100 filing fee for the license suspension appeal to go to hearing. For more information on filing an appeal see the PennDOT fact sheet on Driver Licensing Administrative Hearings. You may also contact an attorney who specializes in license suspension in Pennsylvania, like Ketchel Law, for a free consultation.

Everyone has different circumstances that will determine the course of action, such as your driving record, prior DUI arrests or a criminal record, and the type of license that you hold.

It is very helpful to have an experienced License Suspension Attorney in Pennsylvania explain the charges, your rights, the process and why it may or may not be beneficial for you to file an appeal.

If your license was suspended in Western Pennsylvania, call Ketchel Law for a free consultation.


What Happens to My License After a DUI Charge in Pennsylvania?

Possible License Suspension and DUI in Pennsylvania

Having a few drinks at a bar and driving home may be commonplace in Pennsylvania, but if you are charged with DUI in PA, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the consequences and penalties of a DUI arrest in Pennsylvania can be shocking and last a lifetime.

The reality is that you may very well lose your license for well up to a year or more, spend time in jail and face a criminal record available for the public to see—including potential employers, college admissions personnel, insurance companies, banks and loan officers and even  landlords. In addition to losing your license, your auto insurance will most likely increase as well.

However, being charged with DUI does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. It is important to speak with a DUI Attorney about all possible options in defending your rights to reduce your sentence or have your charges dismissed completely.

What Happens After a DUI Arrest? Will PennDOT Take My License?

After being charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, many people wonder what will become of their license—how they will get to work or drop their kids off at school?

There are a couple options that can help you recover your license faster:

For many first-time DUI offenders in PA the ARD Program is a good option, if you are eligible.

The Ignition Interlock program may also be an option, which can shorten the amount of time your license is suspended.

The length of time you may lose your license depends on whether this is a first DUI or second DUI, and also on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level at the time of the arrest, and whether you submitted or refused a chemical test.

PennDOTS’s License Suspensions Guidelines According to BAC Level (Blood Alcohol Content)

Driver’s License Suspensions are imposed as follows:

  • BAC below .10% and incapable of safe driving: No suspension for first offense if the driver meets certain criteria; 12 month license suspension for second or subsequent offense.
  • BAC greater than or equal to .10% and less than .16%: 12 month license suspension for first and second offense. 18 month suspension for third or subsequent offense.
  • BAC greater than or equal to .16%: 12 month license suspension for first offense. 18 month suspension for second or subsequent offense.
  • Out-of-state DUI convictions: No suspension for first offense; 12 month license suspension for second or subsequent offense.

*If you are under the age of 21, there is an automatic license suspension of 90 days, regardless of BAC Level. 


At Ketchel Law, we work aggressively to minimize the impact a DUI will have on your life—Our number one goal is to get your DUI charges dismissed. In the case of DUI, we will also work to significantly have the charges reduced and help you find options to license suspension.

An Arrest is NOT a Conviction.

For a Free Consultation call 412-456-1221 Today.


What is the Ignition Interlock Program?

Pennsylvania law makes the Ignition Interlock requirement mandatory for first-time and repeat DUI offenders with high blood alcohol levels and for individuals who receive an operating privilege suspension as a result of a chemical test refusal violation.

See the Ignition Interlock Fact Sheet  and Ignition Interlock FAQ for additional information.

What is the ARD Program? 

For first time DUI offenders and other minor crime and drug offenders, the ARD Program, or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, can help you retain your driver’s license and jail time. This program can also give you the opportunity to have your criminal record expunged, which means avoiding a permanent criminal record that comes with a DUI conviction.

If you are seeking information on applying and being accepted into the Allegheny County ARD Program or to have your criminal record expunged, please contact our law office today for a free legal consultation.




Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation

If you have been charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, contact Ketchel Law today.

Our number one goal is to have your charges dismissed and your record clean.



We offer free legal consultations to anyone charged with a crime. Call us today to find out how we can help defend your rights.

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