It's Friday afternoon. You found out earlier that day that it is a co-worker's birthday and the whole office has decided to hit up a local happy hour to celebrate. You drive over to the restaurant, have a few drinks, dinner, and some more drinks with your co-workers. When everyone goes their separate ways at the end of the night, it hits you. You have no way home. You drove to work that day, and now after this unplanned celebration, you're too drunk to drive home. You're in the suburbs, without public transportation or cab service, so you decide the safest choice is to sleep in the car. Tomorrow morning, you'll wake up sober, and drive home safely.
This scenario doesn't sound too unbelievable- many of us could be in this situation. But did you know that for making this choice in the interests of keeping yourself and others safe on the roadways, you could face arrest and DUI charges?
Many people might be surprised to learn that someone can be charged with Driving Under the Influence when they weren't even driving, but this is the reality. You can be charged with DUI if it can be proven that you were "in actual physical control" of a vehicle. Was this law created to punish the driver who made the responsible choice to sleep it off behind the bar and drive home in the morning? Probably not. The law is written like this so that a drunk driver who crashes her car into five parked cars, then a dumpster, and passes out behind the wheel. If the law only prohibited in progress drunk driving, when police find this driver three hours later, she would not face any charges and such destructive and dangerous behavior would not be legally discouraged.
How Do I Avoid A DUI When I'm Sleeping It Off While Parked?
So how can you avoid charges if you make a responsible choice? Here are some helpful tips for if you find yourself in this position:
- Sleep in the backseat, if your vehicle has one. If not, sleep in the passenger side seat
- Put your keys in the glove compartment, or anywhere else where they are as far away from you
- Make sure that your vehicle is free of alcoholic containers- even empty beer cans or bottles could lead to open container violations
- Most importantly, absolutely do not move the car under any circumstances- not to move to a different parking spot, not for any reason whatsoever
If you are facing DUI charges for choosing not to drink and drive, your attorney can use the facts of your situation for a solid legal defense. Experienced DUI attorneys know that the state is much more concerned with keeping truly dangerous drivers off of the roadways, not punishing those of us who try and make a responsible choice and end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you are facing DUI charges and were asleep at the wheel when you were arrested, please give the DUI Attorneys at Lawson and Berry a call. We can talk about what happened to you, and agree on the best way to make sure that you get to tell the court what actually happened.