Man sleeping in his car

Individuals who have consumed alcohol and are not safe to drive, have options available to get home safely: sleep it off in your car, simply wait for the alcohol to pass, or call a friend. Many defendants may not know however, that some of these options will still lead to a DUI ticket if certain details apply.

If you are found in your driver’s seat trying to sober up or sleep it off, you are exposed to the actual physical control portion of the DUI law. The law states: “A person shall not drive or have actual physical control of any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.” The courts have determined that actual physical control means that you have the easy ability to start and operate the vehicle. If you have your keys on you, in a hand or even a pocket, and are in the driver’s seat you have physical control. If however you place the keys in the back seat away from you or give them to a friend outside of the car, are you in actual physical control? If you sleep in the back seat or the passenger seat you are less likely to be considered in actual physical control.

There have been convictions for people in their driver’s seat listening to the radio, and individuals with the car off. Your intent does not apply. The police, first of all, do not want you to wake up and start the car without considering how intoxicated you are. Secondly they do not want to give any defense to someone who may have been driving drunk. Knowing about this law will help you avoid wrongful convictions. The more you do to try to show you are not likely to wake up and drive, the better your chances.

If you need representation for a DUI ticket contact Edward Johnson.

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