Let’s say you heard a friend say, “I was arrested for DUI the other night while I was parked in a parking lot and sleeping off the alcohol that I drank earlier in the evening.” When you heard the story, you were shocked and then you responded with, “But how could you get a DUI if you weren’t driving?”
The above story is a common scenario that I hear often from clients. They drank alcohol at a bar, nightclub, or restaurant and decided to do the right thing and spend the night in their car. Their goal was to “sleep off the booze” so they didn’t drink and drive. But as they slept, they were woken by a police officer tapping on their window. What happened next was field sobriety tests, a breathalyzer test, and finally a DUI arrest.
DUI While Sleeping It Off
Most, if not all, licensed drivers are well-aware that it’s illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But a lot of people do not know that they can be arrested for DUI when they are sitting in their cars while impaired. The truth is that if you’re caught sleeping in your car while under the influence of alcohol, you CAN be arrested for DUI, even if you were not driving.
Under Section 316.193(1) of the Florida Statutes, it says: “A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state” and they are under the influence of alcohol, a chemical substance, or a chemical substance.
If you’re sleeping (or sitting) in your car and you’re in “actual physical control” of your vehicle, and you’re under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a chemical substance, you can be arrested for DUI and face the same punishment as if you were driving.
To be in actual physical control of the vehicle, you can basically put the keys in the ignition and drive off whenever you want. So, if the keys are in the ignition, in your pocket, in your purse, or within reach, the state would argue that you were in “actual physical control.”
Facing DUI charges after sleeping the alcohol off? Contact my Miami DUI defense firm to request a case evaluation!