Can I Get Charged with a DUI for “Sleeping It Off” in My Car?

When it’s time to go home after a night of drinking, a common dilemma many people experience is deciding whether to drive under the influence. Although taking an Uber/Lyft or getting a ride from a sober friend are safe options, they do not want their car ticketed or towed if it is abandoned for the night.

That is why some individuals attempt to “sleep it off,” hoping they will be sober enough in a few hours to safely drive home. Unfortunately, it is possible to be arrested and charged with a DUI in Oklahoma if you are found asleep in your car.

According to state law, if a person drives, operates, or otherwise has physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, he/she can be charged with a DUI. This means even if the vehicle is stationary, police officers can still prove has physical control of the vehicle to charge a suspect with a DUI.

Common factors that lead to conviction include:

  • A person sits at the driver seat
  • Keys are in the ignition
  • Engine is running
  • Tires are warm
  • The vehicle is parked at the side of the road
  • Tire marks to show the vehicle had been driven

For example, if you decide you want to sleep while the car is in motion and pull off to the side of the road, you could be arrested since there is evidence you operated a vehicle while intoxicated. In addition, if you fall asleep with the heater or AC on to keep you warm or cool, this could be construed as attempting to operate a vehicle since the keys are in the ignition.

To make it difficult for the police to charge you with DUI, individuals must take certain steps such as sleeping in the back seat or leaving the keys in the glove compartment or trunk. However, our criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. advise you to avoid being in this situation by finding a safer alternative to get home without driving.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Oklahoma, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.

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