Skip to Content Top

DUI in Idaho: Can I Be Charged for Sleeping It Off?


Many people we meet with have no idea they can be arrested for a DUI in Idaho while “sleeping it off” in their car. This is something many of us have done throughout our lives. You may take a nap on the side of the road after a long stretch of driving. For some people, however, they pull over on the side of the road when they realize they’ve had just a bit too much to drive. Our criminal defense lawyers meet with people from time to time who thought they were doing the responsible thing by pulling over. They can’t believe the police would have the audacity to give them a hard time when they pulled off the road to sober up.

What they don’t realize is that the police know that, in order to have gotten to that spot, they must’ve driven drunk from somewhere.

Here, we will discuss the law in Idaho as far as DUI is concerned. Specifically, we will address the issue as to whether you can be arrested for DUI in Idaho when you’re caught sleeping in your car.

What Does Idaho Statute 18-8004 Say About Drunk Driving?

According to Idaho law, the prosecutor is required to prove that you were in a driving position with the motor running at the time of your arrest. Ultimately, they can also demonstrate that the car was moving when they pulled you over. If they’re not able to prove either of these things, there’s a good chance your criminal defense lawyer will be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

As far as the law is concerned, it all comes down to whether you had physical control of the vehicle when the police arrived. When the police approach your vehicle, they’re going to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. They will also ask you to perform a field sobriety test. If you feel either of these things, you will be arrested and charged with DUI in Idaho. The officers won’t care that you were asleep when they first noticed your vehicle. All they care about is that you were a threat to other motorists and need to be held accountable.

Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Argue that You Didn’t Have Control of the Vehicle

If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Idaho, are you going to feel all sorts of emotions. You’re going to be afraid that you’re going to have to go to jail. You’ll be worried that you’ll lose your license for at least six months. You’re afraid of what your family or your employer is going to think when they find out you’ve been arrested for DUI. With so much at stake, it makes sense to call a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can after your arrest.

When you tell your attorney your story, make sure you let them know that you were asleep when the cops arrived at your vehicle. Let them know where you were prior to pulling over on the side of the road. Tell your attorney how much you had to drink the night before. Also, let them know what your BAC was after you took the breathalyzer test. If they feel they can make a case that you did not have control of the vehicle at the time of your arrest, they may be able to convince the State prosecutor to drop the charged. However, it is rarely that easy.

One of the most important factors the court will consider is what part of the vehicle you were sleeping in. if you were sleeping in the backseat, it will be difficult for the State to prove you were in a position to drive off. This is also the case if your car keys were stowed away in the glove compartment.

Another key factor is whether the car was running at the time of your arrest for DUI in Idaho. These are just some of the factors that your attorney will want to review.

Your DUI in Idaho Will Typically Come Down to a Matter of Who the Judge Believes

Typically, in cases like this, it will all come down to whom the judge believes. The judge has no reason to doubt what the state prosecutor tells them. The prosecutor has no incentive to lie or exaggerate the facts. The same is true for the officer who testifies in court on the state’s behalf. It will be very difficult to poke holes in the state’s case when the officer who approached your vehicle and found you asleep is sitting in the courtroom. But this doesn’t mean al is lost.

You will get the chance to speak during your trial. Your criminal defense lawyer will also have a chance to speak to the judge. The point that they will attempt to drive home is that you had no control of your vehicle at the time you were arrested. If you were asleep in the back seat, you would have had to wake up, climb over the seat, find your keys, put them in ignition, and then drive away. The odds of someone doing that after they made the effort to fall asleep are low. You’ll need to use this to your advantage.

Once You’ve Found the Best DUI Lawyer Near You, Give Them a Call

If you have recently been arrested and charged with DUI in Boise, Idaho, give us a call. All you have to do is go online and do a search for “the best DUI lawyer near me.” The name of our firm will come up along with our contact information. When you call, ask if you can set-up your initial consultation with one of our criminal defense lawyers.

With so much at stake, this is not something you want to handle on your own. You have a much better chance of getting the charges against you reduced or dismissed if you have an experienced attorney by your side. We recommend you call our office as soon as possible after your arrest. If you can’t get in touch with us from jail, contact a family member who can. We’ll do our best to get you out of jail as soon as possible so we can get started on your defense.