DUI Not Driving Defense
Can you get a DUI if you sleep in your parked car? The legal answer is yes, you can get charged with a DUI-related offense with no proof of driving, with no keys in the ignition, or even sometimes outside of your car. The proceeding information of this type of driving under the influence charge is outlined below, as well as legal tips and probable cause defenses how to avoid a “DUI while parked” conviction if arrested.
Even if your car doesn’t start, the law under the Supreme Court ruled you can get a DUI without driving and while the car is not moving or parked. Most of us have heard stories from our parents, friends, or relatives about going out “back in the day” and needing to sleep it off in the car. In fact, many of us may have done something similar when we were younger during a vacation or weekend away. While it seems harmless, today, you can actually get a DUI while parked even if you never started or moved the vehicle.
You may be asking yourself how this is possible to get charged with DUI while not driving, but this offense happens today more than one would think. When an officer sees someone in his or her car, even if it is not moving, and he or she makes the determination that this person had the intent to drive, he or she may end up being cited for DUI. Getting a DUI with no proof of driving happens to people all too often while a car is parked, and there are case-winning defenses that work for the best chances to throw out this type of charge.
These types of DUI, DWI charges without driving often happen at late night or early morning hours, in a parking lot of a fast food restaurant, bar, nightclub, or neighboring business and sometimes private property such as an apartment complex. People choose wisely not to drink and drive, while sincerely believing they are doing the right thing by sleeping it off in their car.
Unfortunately, new September 2021 DUI laws are very strict with certain rules for how to sleep in a parked car after drinking alcohol or smoking Marijuana, and too many drivers today easily find themselves charged with and fighting a DUI that is often unfair for a car that was not moving in the first place. Drivers currently dealing with these charges today, still have many legal options for “DUI not driving defense” strategies that work to dismiss a case based on individual arrest details of what happened.
DUI not driving defenses especially apply when nobody (including police) actually witnessed the defendant drive or attempt to operate a vehicle.
Reasons for DUI While Parked
There are a couple of reasons why an officer may determine that an individual should be cited for DUI when they are in a parked car:
- Asleep in the driver’s seat
- Car keys in the ignition
- Appearance of intent to drive
- Why Sleeping In A Parked Car Could Result In A DUI Arrest
Can you get a DUI for having your keys in the ignition?
Yes, under September 2021 DUI, DWI laws in every state, a person can get a DUI if you sleep in your car, regardless if the keys are in the ignition or not. The law in each state has determined an individual is still considered in physical control of a vehicle when the keys are also inside of the car, which legally means keys don’t have to be in the ignition to get charged with DUI today. However, with so many possible legal technicalities for this type of DUI offense when a person was not even driving in the first place, this is how a skilled lawyer can review an arrest and often find numerous probable cause DUI parked car defenses to get charges dropped or thrown out of court.
1. Asleep in the Driver’s Seat
You had the right intention; unfortunately, you chose the driver’s seat to sleep off your overindulgent night. If an officer were to see you in this position, it is reasonable for him or her to assume you got behind the wheel with the intention of driving. He or she has no way of knowing if you passed out while trying to start the car or if you just choose to sleep it off.
This type of DUI without operating charge often happens after another person calls police to report an individual sleeping in the driver’s seat of a parked vehicle. In many cases like this when a police officer did not actually witness a defendant driving and makes an arrest based upon a phone call of someone else calling it in, a defendant will have even better chances of winning a case dismissal in court due to lack of evidence and reasonable doubt defenses.
2. Car Keys in the Ignition
Just because you have not yet started the car does not mean you did not try it and then later changed your mind. The fact that they keys are actually in the ignition shows that you had every intention of driving when you entered the car, at least in the eyes of the law. However, in many cases when a defendant is charged with DUI without driving, the best legal defenses that do drop charges are generally based on police report technicalities or challenging an officer’s predetermined bias of DUI regarding the actual intent a defendant had of operating a parked vehicle.
3. Appearance of Intent to Drive
What if you tried to start the car and then decided to sleep it off? Maybe you realized after starting the car that you needed to rethink this and take a nap to sober up a bit. You even moved out of the front driver’s seat to show that you did not intend to go anywhere. Unfortunately, you left the keys in the ignition (as mentioned above) and left your lights on while sobering up.
Even though you are in the passenger or back seat, an officer can make a reasonable assumption that you had the intent of driving, and can therefore cite you for a DUI. This type of DUI, DWI arrest can also happen often when a person is parked while eating after going to a late night drive thru. More police officers today that are on late night DUI patrol, are on the lookout for intoxicated individuals in drive thru parking lots almost as much as they watch cars leaving a bar or nightclub.
DUI with no proof of driving defense, luckily can be established with higher chances of success after an early arrest review. Police still have to prove you were driving, or had the intent to drive, which is not always as easy for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt in court against a strong legal defense that works for a DUI charge in parked vehicle.
4. Why “Sleeping It Off” in Your Parked Car Could Be Grounds for a DUI Arrest
Many drivers mistakenly believe that people can’t be arrested, charged, and then convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) for sleeping in their parked vehicle while they are intoxicated. However simply being in a vehicle while drunk or even high on Marijuana with any level of detectable THC, can be enough for a person to be charged with a DUI, DWI offense. With that being said, many recommended probable cause DUI parked car defenses a lawyer can utilize to get charges dropped, are often based on valid legal factors due to lack of probable cause by a police officer.
The truth is some states that are considered “domain and control” states may have provisions for this type of law, but other states, like California, require individuals to be operating the vehicle in order for them to be charged with DUI. Even though a person can still get arrested for DUI while being asleep when a car is parked and motionless, an arrest review can determine the proper “sleeping in my car DUI dismissed defense” based on the specific details of what happened.
Every crime, including DUI/DWI, has what are called “elements.” Elements are different factors that must be present in order for individuals to be successfully convicted of a crime. In the state of California, for example, being in operation of the vehicle is an “element” for being charged and convicted of DUI. In 1991, the Supreme Court in California set a precedent which held that the word “drive” in the state’s DUI laws meant offenders needed to have volitionally and willingly moved the vehicle.
While this court ruling may indicate that individuals cannot be charged with DUI unless the car is in motion, this is actually not the case. Through the use of circumstantial evidence, it is possible for a prosecutor to prove that an individual drove the vehicle without the arresting officer actually witnessing the vehicle in motion. This type of “not driving DUI” scenario with an immobilized vehicle is most often proved when the officer locates the vehicle at or close to the scene of an accident or if officers find the vehicle in the middle of the road with the driver inside.
However, in cases where the officers find individuals asleep in their vehicles while intoxicated but there is no evidence the vehicle has been moved or operated recently, the officers cannot arrest those individuals or charge them with DUI. An example of this DUI with no driving situation would be when officers find an intoxicated individual asleep in a vehicle parked in a parking lot or driveway. In these cases, however, it is possible for the individual sleeping inside the immobile vehicle to be arrested for being drunk in public.
As mentioned, this is an appropriate scenario for states that are not “domain and control” states, such as the state of California. In states that are considered “domain and control,” individuals who are found asleep in a parked vehicle while intoxicated are considered to have “domain and control” of the vehicle with the ability to operate it, which means they can be arrested and charged with a DUI, DWI offense when not driving.
Here is the definitive list of States in September 2021 where the law dictates you can still get a DUI for sleeping in your car or while not driving and parked: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Since you can get a DUI, DWI without keys in ignition and these types of charges happen often today, it is important to note that even the best legal defenses that work to dismiss a case must be implemented before the first DMV hearing in order to keep your license from getting suspended in time.
Fighting Charges for “DUI When Already Parked” With DUI Defenses That Work
The best charge mitigation remedy for “I got a DUI but I wasn’t driving” always starts with a careful professional defense review of a defendant’s own arrest information in every case. An online arrest review’s primary purpose is to establish the right legal strategy early on before going to court or a DMV license hearing, that has the highest likelihood of getting DUI, DWI without driving charges reduced or thrown out in court.
Recommended legal defenses that work for cases such as DUI in a private parking lot, driveway, sleeping in a car, or when keys are not in the ignition can be complex charges to fight, but it is often accomplished with expert legal advice from the start. For example, many women charged with DUI after they decide to sleep in a vehicle after drinking have unique defenses right away. One of the best such winning DUI defenses for women is how most breath testing devices are typically calibrated to read BAC levels of the average adult male.
Knowing which legal tactic has the best odds of reducing or dismissing charges in court, is always arrest-specific when identifying the right defense strategy from the details of the individual charged with DUI, DWI while not driving in a parked car. Actual physical control vs DUI are virtually the same criminal offense that also carry the same mandatory penalties if convicted in court, and why it is always ideal to get legal help soon after an arrest to mitigate consequences. There are numerous court winning defenses for how to beat a physical control charge often by pinpointing legal technicalities, when a person was not seen driving at the time of getting arrested for the DUI offense.
If you want the best chances to fight charges of DUI, DWI without operating a vehicle successfully, you should hire a top local DUI attorney to help prove your case soon after an arrest occurs. An expert lawyer significantly increases the odds of winning a DUI case involving a parked car, especially when there is reasonable doubt that you were intending to drive. Filling out the free DUI arrest review form, your arrest details will be examined online for free by an experienced local DUI specialist counsel to pinpoint a specific DUI not driving defense remedy for how to defeat the charges effectively and avoid a license suspension, with essential proactive steps to take before going to court.
What happens if you can’t afford an attorney? We are also able to assist drivers with options how to get free legal aid who are struggling to afford a lawyer, but still want to fight a pending DUI case for the best court outcome with local expert legal help. Using nearby pro bono free legal aid helps to ensure that a person never has to feel financially pressured to quickly plead guilty to a DUI charge without a strong legal defense, especially when the car was already parked and weren’t even driving in the first place.
DUI, DWI While Parked, Sleeping in a Vehicle September 2021 – “DUI Not Driving Defense” Law References:
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.