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Can you face DUI charges for sleeping in your car?

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2021 | Traffic Offenses And DUI

In Illinois, it is illegal to drive if you have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08%. Thanks to educational campaigns and aggressive law enforcement, most residents of the Land of Lincoln know about this provision of state law.

You may not realize it is not necessary to be driving to face charges for driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, prosecutors may secure a conviction even if you were just sleeping in your car after a night on the town.

Actual physical control

Whether you are culpable for a DUI-related offense turns on whether you have actual physical control of a motor vehicle at the time of your arrest. While driving is evidence of actual physical control, your vehicle’s engine does not even have to be running. Having the keys in your possession is typically sufficient to support a conviction.

Your good intentions

If you have a BAC above the legal limit, it is always safest not to drive. Regrettably, though, the law sometimes punishes those who choose to sleep in a car instead of drive one. After all, the intention not to drive is not usually a valid defense, provided you have the ability to start your car’s engine and drive it down the road.

Your safety strategy

Before drinking alcohol, it is advisable to arrange a sober ride home. If you do not have one, it may be wise to stay away from your vehicle. Still, if an officer arrests you for sleeping in your car while intoxicated, you may have some options for defending yourself.

Ultimately, because no two DUI arrests are the same, you must clearly understand both the facts of your arrest and the law.