Someone who is intoxicated may think that the least risky thing they can do is try to “sleep it off” in their car. Perhaps they were at a social gathering with friends, with their car parked out front. They may have walked out to the car with the intent of driving home, realized that they were far too intoxicated to do so, and decided just to sleep in their car on the side of the road.
This does reduce some risks, such as the risk of getting into a car accident. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that the intoxicated individual cannot be arrested on DWI charges. There are cases in which the police could believe that that person is still in control of the vehicle and levy charges, even though the vehicle isn’t in motion at the time of the alleged offense.
Why does this happen?
The reason for this is that the police often think that “sleeping it off” is just an excuse. They may allege that you were driving right before you pulled over and tried to go to sleep, so you still deserve DWI charges. They may also say that you were preparing to drive when the police found you.
How can you make it obvious?
If you do find yourself sleeping in your vehicle when you know that you’re impaired, there are a few things you can do to make it obvious that you’re not driving. Consider the location of the vehicle itself, to begin with. You’re much better off in the driveway than on the road. You’ll also want to think about where in the vehicle you’re located. Sleeping in the driver’s seat could make you look guilty, whereas sleeping in the back seat may make it clear that it’s not just an excuse.
Finally, you need to think about the location of your keys, at least in older vehicles that still use physical keys that you have to turn to start the car. If those are in the ignition or in your pocket, the police may be more likely to subject you to DWI charges than if they are somewhere else. But this does get a little bit complicated in the modern world, where many people have key fobs that simply have to be anywhere in the vehicle in order to start the car.
Are you facing charges?
Were you arrested even though you thought you were doing the right thing? It’s very important for you to understand all of the criminal defense options you have at this time. Seek legal guidance promptly to build the strongest possible defense strategy.