Sleeping in the Back of Your Car Can Still Lead to DUI

Charges Reinstated in DUI Sleeping Case

Some drivers believe that curling up in the back seat of their vehicle and taking a nap may help them avoid being arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). While “sleeping it off” in the car may seem like the sensible thing to do at the time, it does not always work out in the driver’s favor. The Superior Court in the state of Pennsylvania ruled that a female suspect should still face DUI charges despite a previous judge in Westmoreland County having the woman’s charges dismissed, most likely because the suspect was not behind the wheel of the vehicle when she was arrested.

According to a local news site, the driver had been heavily drinking when she crashed her vehicle into a tree in early 2014. When emergency responders arrived at the scene of the accident a short time later, they found the suspect asleep in the back seat of her vehicle. When law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, they noted the suspect was bruised in a manner that indicated she may have hit the steering wheel, and she also smelled strongly of alcohol. When the suspect was woken up, it was also discovered that she could not walk – her Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was measured at 0.304 percent.

After the judge in Westmoreland County dismissed the charges, prosecutors appealed the decision to the PA Superior Court. A panel of judges reviewing the case agreed with prosecutors that the DUI charges against the suspect should stand. In their decision, they that law enforcement had sufficient evidence for the charges to stick. The judges also noted that law enforcement had witnesses who saw the suspect behind the wheel before the accident and that there were not footprints in the snow around the car to indicate someone was outside of the vehicle.

The Superior Court stated it was a logical assumption that the suspect was behind the wheel when the accident occurred, and the lack of footprints in the snow also indicated she had crawled into the back seat after the crash.

For those who are facing DUI charges, it is vitally important to seek the legal counsel of a qualified attorney. Attorneys who are well versed in DUI law for the state in which the incident occurred are able to explain to their client the potential outcomes of the case as well as the punishments and penalties he or she may face.

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