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Can you get a DUI in a Tesla or self-driving car?

DUI In Tesla’s Self-Driving Car?What happens when an officer pulls over a self-driving car? Can the officer charge anyone with a DUI in a self-driving Tesla? Some Scholars have written about this and I thought we might review this issue. Tesla automobiles have an autopilot feature. It is not truly self-driving as Tesla has referred to it as semi-autonomous driving. Other car companies have also tried developing autopilot technology.

California Highway Patrol Charge Driver With DUI in a Tesla.

In January 2018, in San Francisco, a person in a Tesla car had an alcohol level twice the legal limit. The Tesla’s operator received a DUI. Tesla has instructed drivers using autopilot to maintain consciousness while driving. Also, Tesla tells drivers using autopilot to keep their hands on the steering wheel. In this arrest, the driver explained that the Tesla was on autopilot to the California Highway Patrol. Even with the driver’s explanation, the officer arrested and charged the driver with DUI. The California Highway Patrol tweeted that the car did not drive itself to the tow yard.

Will Florida Officers Charge Drivers With DUI in a Tesla?

Florida law prohibits an intoxicated driver from being in actual physical control of a vehicle. The car does not need to be moving at the time of a DUI arrest. Florida only requires that the vehicle is capable of being moved. The case law discusses the location of the keys and whether or not the car is operable. Under this broad definition of driving that includes the capacity of physical control of the car, it is highly unlikely the operator of a self-driving car would beat a DUI on that defense. It is probable that the court would find the driver was in actual physical control of the vehicle. Hence, some cars equipped with these automatic driving features have contracts that require the user to keep hands on the steering wheel even when the vehicle is in autopilot mode.
 
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Florida DUI Arrest Contest Winners

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Florida DUI Arrest Contest Winners

Hillsborough County, Florida DUI Arrest Contest Winners


Before you believe that officers do not have an incentive to arrest for Florida DUI in the Tampa Bay area – DUI Attorney W.F. ”Casey” Ebsary, Jr. noted there was a recent DUI Award Banquet Honoring Florida Highway Patrol Officers with Over 100 DUI Arrests, according to MADD.  They used to post these awards online until we started asking award winners about these contests in court –  here was the old link http://www.madd.org/chapter/1200_2981 .
Also awarded were officers with over a 1000 arrests. There were 13 contest winners at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HSCO) . There were 16 contest winners at the Tampa Police Department (TPD) . These were just the officers who got over a hundred in the year. There are others with less.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Jackie Brock Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Beau Dobson Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Glover Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Carolyn Jolly Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Carl McCalla Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jimmy McDowell Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew McMurphy Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Felix Moret Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Lawrence Morrell Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Shawn Morrey Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kevin Stabins Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Candace Steinmeir Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Anthony Watson Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Tampa Police Department

Officer Ferdinand Barbosa Tampa Police Department Officer James Blanchard Tampa Police Department Corporal Edwin Bodamer Tampa Police Department Officer Kristie Borgo Tampa Police Department Master Patrol Officer Steven Buchanan Tampa Police Department Officer Peter Bucher Tampa Police Department Officer Steven Cragg Tampa Police Department Corporal Douglas Groves Tampa Police Department Officer Juan Melo Tampa Police Department Officer Anthony Portman Tampa Police Department Master Patrol Officer Brian Reschke Tampa Police Department Master Patrol Officer Kenneth Setser Tampa Police Department Officer Joseph Sustek Tampa Police Department Master Patrol Officer Dean Uno Tampa Police Department Master Patrol Officer John Vallejo Tampa Police Department Master Patrol Officer Steven Wilson Tampa Police Department

1000+ DUI Awards

Deputy Jackie Brock Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Lloyd Hyder Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Felix Moret Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Lawrence Morrell Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Paul Shute Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Gregory Williams Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Officer James Blanchard Tampa Police Department Office Master Patrol Officer Steven Buchanan Tampa Police Department Officer Juan Melo Tampa Police Department Office Officer Anthony Portman Tampa Police Department Office Master Patrol Officer Kenneth Setser Tampa Police Department Office Master Patrol Officer John Vallejo Tampa Police Department Office Master Patrol Officer Steven Wilson Tampa Police Department Office