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Can I be charged with DUI if I was parked and sleeping it off?

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2022 | Drunk Driving

You went out with a friend to celebrate their birthday. While you were at the pub, celebrating, eating and drinking, some mutual friends showed up as well. They bought drink after drink. 

You ended up getting drunk. You don’t want to be arrested on a DUI charge, so what do you do? Ideally, you should get a ride and pick up your car later, but it occurs to you that you could just “sleep it off” in your vehicle and then drive home. Is this wise? Probably not.

Sleeping it off in the car could be a bad idea

Even if you’re not driving, merely being behind the wheel and in physical control of your vehicle can still get you charged with a DUI. You don’t actually have to be in motion. 

If a police officer stops behind your parked vehicle to speak with you, a few factors could affect their decision to arrest you or not.:

  • Where was your car parked? Does it appear you drove there while intoxicated?
  • Where were your keys? Are they in your ignition, pocket or hand?
  • Are you impaired when the police get there? Are you clearly still intoxicated?

If you really have no other option but to stay with your vehicle until you’re sober, you need to be cautious. By doing two things, you might be able to convince an officer that you were truly just napping before driving home and not actually in control of your vehicle:

  • Move to the back seat of your car where you’re clearly not able to control it.
  • Don’t put your keys in your pants pocket — drop them in the glove box or trunk so they’re out of your reach.

By taking these steps, you may be able to convince the officer (or the court) that you were not in control of your vehicle and avoid the unpleasant consequences of a drunk driving conviction