Most DUI (driving under the influence) arrests happen after a police officer stops a car that is in motion. The officer uses breath tests or field sobriety tests to determine that the driver is intoxicated.
But what if you’re not actually driving? Say you have been drinking and now you’re just sitting or sleeping in a parked car. Can you still get a DUI?
Does it look like you were driving?
People have been arrested and charged with a DUI while sleeping in their cars. The assumption made by law enforcement officers is that they were driving and they were just taking a break. If it appears that you were driving while intoxicated and the police just arrived too late to see it in action, they may still make an arrest.
Some of it depends on where you are located. If you’re sitting on the side of the road, sleeping in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, it’s pretty clear to the officers that you were recently driving. They may even assume that you simply pulled over and passed out. Similarly, an officer may use the fact that your engine is still warm to show that you must have been driving recently. In other words, the officer doesn’t have to actually see you in motion to arrest you for drunk driving.
On the other hand, if you’re sleeping in the back seat of the car, in a parking lot, with the keys safely stashed in your backpack, then it looks like you just decided to catch some sleep before going home. It may even look like you were deliberately trying to be safe after realizing you were too drunk to drive.
Are you facing charges?
You can get DUI charges in situations you wouldn’t expect. If you do, it’s very important to know what legal options you have. An attorney can help you understand what you should do next.