Will sleeping in your car help you avoid a DUI charge?

Will sleeping in your car help you avoid a DUI charge?

You’ve been partying at a bar with friends on a recent warm Vegas evening. You were having a good time, when party broke up you didn’t realize how long you had been there and you lost track of the number of drinks you’ve had. You know you’re pretty happy right now, and so you decide not to drive, but instead decide to take a nap in your car to sleep it off, and then drive home. Makes sense doesn’t it? You’re being good and not operating your vehicle while intoxicated. Well, the decisions you make next may determine whether you may be charged with a DUI with its life changing consequences.

If you get in the driver’s seat of your car and put the keys in the ignition to listen to music, and then recline the seat to rest, and officer finding you in this condition may well charge you with a DUI, and it could stick, even if you didn’t move the car. If your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) measures above 0.08 when the officer finds you, measured by a breathalyzer test, you may well find yourself going to jail to sleep it off, and your car impounded.

If, in this example, you actually drove a mile or two towards home, but then realized you were in no condition to drive, and pulled over and decided to sleep it off, you can rest assured, that if police investigate your parked car, and find you in the driver’s seat with keys in the ignition, assuming your BAC is above the 0.08 legal lime, you will most likely be charged with a DUI.

How can I be charged with DUI when sleeping in my parked motor vehicle?

It has to do with how the DUI statute is interpreted. Nevada’s DUI law indicates that it is illegal to:

Be under the influence of intoxicating liquor, have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 in blood or breath, and to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access. Interpreting what “physical control” means is the issue.

Being in physical control of a vehicle means more than just driving it. If you are in a vehicle and have direct access to the keys of the vehicle, especially if the keys are in the ignition, and if you are in the driver’s seat, has been interpreted as being in physical control of the vehicle, whether the keys are in running position or not.

In the examples above, keys were in the ignition turned to ACC or ON position, and the driver was in the driver’s seat. In the first example, even if you were still in the parking lot of the bar, you are on premises where the public has access. In the second example, the police will infer that you drove to the location you pulled off the road in an inebriated condition. During their investigation, they may feel the heat of the hood to determine if the car had been recently driven, but it is easy to conclude that you drove to the location drunk, and you will most likely be charged.

There are several examples of arrests even when people were intoxicated and sleeping in the back seat with their car, with keys in their pocket. While the police may take a very strict interpretation of being in “physical control” of a vehicle, being charged and being convicted of a DUI are very different things. It is obviously very important that you have a skilled attorney represent you if you have been charged with a DUI.

The Defenders will aggressively defend you if you’ve been charged with a DUI in Nevada

Our firm specializes in DUI defense. Our skilled attorneys have represented hundreds of DUI cases and know the legal territory well. If you have been charged with a DUI in Las Vegas, call the Defenders today at (702) 333-3333.

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