Could I Get a DUI from Sleeping in My Car?
Start writing a post

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?

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

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. Fiol law group's personal injury lawyers in Tampa, FL report that an estimate of 28 people a day die from an intoxicated driving incident.

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.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments