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Could “sleeping it off” in the car lead to DUI charges?

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2020 | DUI Charges | 0 comments

After a night out, you might think that sleeping it off in your car is the best way to keep yourself and other drivers safe. However, the same decision to sleep in your car could put you in legal trouble in the state of Arizona. Being caught behind the wheel while drunk—even if you were sleeping—could lead to drunk driving charges.

Were you in “actual physical control” of the vehicle?

In Arizona, there are two ways that the authorities can charge you with driving under the influence (DUI): if you drove or were in “actual physical control” of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or while impaired to the slightest degree. Actual physical control law allows the authorities to charge a person with drunk driving if they were, for example, a passed out while stopped at a stop sign because the vehicle was under their control.

Because actual physical control can be subjective, the court could look for a variety of factors in a DUI case to determine whether a person was in control of a vehicle. These include:

  • The location of the keys
  • Whether the keys were in the ignition of the vehicle
  • Whether the vehicle was running
  • If the heat or air conditioner was on
  • If the headlights were on
  • The location of the person in the car
  • Whether the driver had pulled off the road intentionally

If you face charges of drunk driving for sleeping off a night’s drinking in your car, your attorney can emphasize that you used the car as a stationary shelter rather than a vehicle. With experienced legal counsel, you can protect yourself from these charges.