DUI law can be very complex. One question I was asked today is "can I get a DUI charge if the car is titled to me and my son got arrested for DUI while driving my car?" Under Tennessee law, there is no answer on whether the owner of the car must be present in the vehicle.
The most common fact is the owner/passenger DUI offense. It occurs when the owner of the car allows a person to drive their car while the driver is alleged to be impaired. Tennessee Code Annotated Section 55-10-210 provides in part that one who aids or abets the principal in a criminal offense "is guilty of such offense".
The next question is what is the punishment for the aider and abettor. In applying the reasoning from the court in St. v. Keys, it appears the punishment for the aider and abettor should not be held to the driver's punishment level. It is common for police and law enforcement to arrest both the driver and the owner for DUI. It puts pressure on the driver to plead guilty to get a possible dismissal of the owner's charge. What happens if the car is titled jointly like a husband and wife? The answer may be coming soon.