Does Sleeping in Your Car Lead to DUI?

Let’s say you’ve had a few alcoholic beverages and the bar is closing. Rather than leave your car until the sun rises, you instead decide to “sleep it off” until you are in a better condition to drive. However, sleeping in your car while intoxicated can result in DUI charges under certain circumstances.

According to California DUI laws, a drunk driving charge requires evidence of “volitional movement.” This means that there must be direct and/or circumstantial evidence that you were actually driving the car.

Direct evidence of driving might include the testimony of law enforcement or witnesses who saw you drive, traffic camera photographs of you driving at the time the offense occurred, or even your own admission. If there is no direct evidence that you were driving and circumstantial evidence exists, such evidence includes the fact that the engine and tires still warm, car is in the middle of the road or somewhere as a result of driving, the keys are still in the ignition, or you were asleep at the driver’s seat.

At The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch, our Fresno criminal defense attorney recommends that you avoid being involved in this type of situation. If you are too drunk to drive, simply call a designated driver, request a ride from Uber or Lyft, or take public transportation.

However, if you find yourself asleep in your car, ensure that you make it obvious that you did not drive the vehicle at all. Do not leave your keys in the ignition, sleep in the back seat, and store your keys inside the glove compartment or in your trunk.

While you can avoid a DUI charge, you could still be vulnerable to other criminal offenses. For example, you can be convicted of “Attempted DUI’ for trying to or exhibiting the specific intent to drive even if your car is still parked. Additionally, you could also be charged with drunk in public since an individual’s car is not considered a “private place” if parked on a public street.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Fresno, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.

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