You had a fun night with some friends, and a few drinks. It is really late. You get into your car and put the keys in the ignition, but realize you had too much to drink. Instead of driving home or calling a cab, you decide to sleep it off. It is cold outside so you decide to start the car and turn on the heat to stay warm. You fall asleep, but are suddenly awoken by a police officer tapping on your car window with a flashlight. You roll down the window. The officer asks if you have been drinking. You responded, “a few hours ago.” The officer asks you to exit the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests. You are still half asleep and before you realize what’s happening you are being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI).

What did you do wrong? Well, the obvious answer is that you should have avoided getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking. However, your decision to sleep it off was a smarter and safer alternative then driving. In order to understand what you did wrong, you need to understand what the officer was looking for when he was questioning you regarding why you were sleeping in your car. The number one thing the officer was looking for was whether you drove, operated, or were in actual physical control of the vehicle. This can be determined by the following:

  • The location of your vehicle: whether you are parked on or off the road.
  • Whether the car was on: was the engine running or warm to the touch?
  • Your location inside the vehicle: where you were sleeping in the vehicle and if you could have operated the vehicle from that position.
  • The location of your keys in the vehicle: whether or not they were in the ignition or the car was turned on.
  • The operability of the vehicle: whether the vehicle could have be driven.

If you have been drinking and choose to sleep it off in your vehicle, you need to be aware that you can still be arrested for DUI even if you were not driving. If you are arrested for DUI while sleeping it off then you need to contact The Law Offices of Robert L. Schwarz today at 610-566-0500.