Could I Get a DUI from Sleeping in My Car?

Can I Get A DUI For 'Sleeping It Off' In My Car?

Is sleeping in your car the best solution to avoid a DUI charge after a night of partying?


Many of us have been in the very familiar situation of deciding whether or not it's safe to drive after having a few drinks.

Picture this scenario. You drive to a friend's house, you party and ended up having more to drink than you planned to. The party is over. You wanna stay but they have no room for you to crash. So, you then decide to do the "safe" thing and sleep in your car.

Is this the right solution for this situation? Believe it or not, in most states, you actually could get a DUI for just sitting or sleeping in a parked vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.

A lot of us already know the consequences and dangers of driving intoxicated. When getting behind the wheel buzzed, it puts your life and other driver's lives in danger, and it's responsible for over 10,874 traffic-related deaths according to NHTSA.

So, would it be the safest solution to sleep in a vehicle until you are sober enough to drive? How is an intoxicated driver a threat if they are not going anywhere? You may not be hurting anybody, but you still run the risk of getting yourself in trouble with the law.

Why Would an Officer Give You A DUI if You Weren't Driving?


D.U.I. stands for "driving" under the influence, right? If you were not driving or had no plan of driving in the first place, why would the highway patrol come a knockin' and land you a citation?

The charge all depends on the elements of what the police find to determine a DUI or DWI charge. Basically, these are factors that are evidence which determine whether or not you actually could have been driving before you pulled over and stopped. It's difficult for an officer to make heads or tails of what you did if he finds you passed out in the driver's seat, parked on the side of the road with your keys in the ignition. But in this particular scene, you appear to have the intent to drive which is enough evidence to get you hit with a DUI.

Appearing With the Intention to Drive.

In other words, you seemed like you were planning to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Here are visual indicators that could raise suspicion when an officer shows up to the scene. These factors are what police officers can use against you when charging you with intoxicated driving:

  • Sitting in the driver's seat
  • Key's in the Ignition
  • Headlights on
  • Seatbelt On
  • Car is running

Pointing out these factors could even be enough evidence for a prosecuting DUI lawyer to prove that you were operating the vehicle without prosecutor or the officer actually witnessing you actually doing it.

What if You Made it Perfectly Obvious That You Had No Intent to Drive?

I've heard friends of friends tell me stories about ways to avoid police convictions if you choose to "sleep it off" in the car. Most people believe the more you make it look like you had no intent to drive the better. I've heard dozens of theoretical solutions like, sleeping in the back seat or sleeping with the keys on the roof of your car is enough proof get off scot-free.

This is such a grey area thing though. In the end, the only true solution to avoiding a DUI arrest and court time one hundred percent of the time is to either:

  • Sleep in a hotel or private location (would not recommend a public area, that's another legal issue)
  • Hailing a cab or a rideshare

Rule of thumb: never go near a car when intoxicated, unless that car happens to belong to your Uber driver or DD.

Popular Right Now

8 Reasons Girls Who Love Tequila Are Better

Because if she can handle tequila, she can handle you too.

There are all kinds of alcohol stereotypes out there but the one associated with tequila is probably the worst: tequila makes you crazy. But if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that women who drink tequila are one-of-a-kind.

Whether it's loving or fighting, you'll never find anyone who does it better than a girl who just straight up loves tequila, and here are a few reasons why that is.

1. She's independent

A girl who drinks tequila is probably the same girl who has absolutely no problem telling it like it is. She knows what she wants and goes after it.

2. She doesn't care what you or anyone else thinks

Oh, you have a problem with me taking shots and having a good time? Well, get over it! Bartender, a shot with salt and a lime please!

3. Always dancing

Tequila is an 'upper' so instead of sitting at the bar doing nothing, let's dance! Let's get moving!

4. There is never a dull moment

Speaking of dancing, a girl who drinks tequila is always down for a good time. Whether it's going on an adventure or seeing who can take the most shots, a tequila girl is always down to party.

5. While everyone else is starting to get sleepy, she has all the energy

Like I said, tequila is an 'upper' so while the other girls at the bar are starting to feel groggy and sad, she's all over the place having fun and partying on the dancefloor.

6. She's stronger than the girl crying over a vodka cranberry at the bar.

Sad over a breakup? Don't go for the vodka... Tequila will make you feel better in no time! Plus you can challenge the hot guys at the bar to a shot taking contest.

7. Tequila is healthy for you

Tequila is a probiotic, so some tequila a day keeps the doctor away. Yay for shots!

8. She can hold her own when it comes to alcohol

Any girl who can shoot some shots at the bar all day and night can handle alcohol, which means she can handle herself too. You won't have to deal with her constant breakdowns and mood swings because she will be too busy ordering more shots.

Cover Image Credit: Whiskey Riff

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