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Sleeping Drunk in a Car: Can You Get a DUI?


Sleeping drunk in a car could be a problem. DUIs are severe offenses in Idaho and many other states. If the courts convict you, you face stiff penalties. These could range from fines, suspension of driving privileges to imprisonment. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a DUI defense attorney after a DUI arrest.

Most people think that you must be driving to be arrested for DUI. This isn’t always the case, though. Instead, there are instances where the courts can convict a person for a DUI although they weren’t driving. Out of all these possible scenarios, a DUI defense lawyer can explain whether the police can charge you for sleeping drunk in your car. So, it’ll be best to contact our DUI attorneys today.

Can the Police Arrest Me for Sleeping Drunk in My Car?

Many people sleep off a drinking bout in their cars or the bar. Usually, they feel less of a danger to society when they’re asleep. However, the police can arrest you for a DUI while sleeping in your car. Idaho law doesn’t always require you to drive to get a DUI conviction. Instead, it’s sufficient that you were in “actual physical control” of your vehicle. Furthermore, you must have had this control when you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

What Is Actual Physical Control?

Idaho law further defines “actual physical control” of your vehicle as when you’re:

  • In the driver’s position of the car, with the motor running, or
  • With the motor vehicle moving.

These two conditions can justify an arrest of a person sleeping in their car under the influence of drugs or alcohol. So, sleeping drunk in the driver’s seat can make you liable. Furthermore, it’ll be worse if the motor runs while you sleep drunk in the car. Sleeping in the back seat of your car may help you escape a DUI charge.

However, y0u can even have legal problems when you don’t sleep in the driver’s seat. This will be the case where you sleep in any other part of the vehicle and still leave the motor vehicle running.

How to Sleep It Off in Your Car Without Getting a DUI

After getting drunk, it’ll be best to take a cab home. However, sleeping off the intoxication may be wise in some cases. This means that you may not have the chance to get home to sleep properly.

Where Can I Sleep?

Suppose you want to sleep in your car. You must only sleep in the back seat or passenger seat. Sleeping in the driver’s position is a no-no. If you do, it’ll be hard to convince the police or courts that you had neither the capacity nor desire to drive.

Where Can I Park?

Your vehicle’s location when sleeping off a drinking bout is also crucial. For example, parking along the highway or other public roads is risky. This is because the police can assume you were already driving drunk. Furthermore, they can assume that you only stopped to sleep for a while. The case would be different if you were sleeping in your driveway, though. Parking in another private parking lot may be helpful too.

Switch Off the Ignition

Finally, switch off your vehicle’s ignition before you sleep. If your engine is running, you’re just a step away from engaging the gear and driving away. Therefore, you’re still a threat to yourself and other road users. It’ll also help to ensure that your car keys are far from you.

So, don’t insert the keys into the ignition. In addition, it’ll be best not to hold the keys. While sleeping, having the car on may be harmless on a cold night. This is because you can argue that you were using the vehicle’s warmth.

Let the Best DUI Defense Lawyers Help You!

Have the police arrested you on a DUI charge? Were you sleeping in your car or driving drunk? If you answer any of these questions in the affirmative, you need an excellent DUI defense attorney. Even if you think you’ve been falsely arrested, you’ll still need an attorney to avoid being charged.

Our DUI defense attorneys have the skill and experience to handle your case. We’ve successfully represented many people charged with DUI for decades. So, we can also win your case. It’ll thus be best to call us today for a FREE consultation.