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Can you get a DUI for sleeping in a parked vehicle?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | DUI |

The bad behavior of other people can potentially increase the likelihood of your actions leading to an arrest. Police officers trying to enforce Georgia’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws have heard all sorts of excuses from people who think that they can talk their way out of an arrest or criminal charges.

Those desperate to avoid criminal prosecution may fabricate stories in the hopes of tricking a police officer. Someone might pull over to the side of the road after spotting a police officer nearby, park the vehicle, take the keys out of the ignition and then pretend to be asleep when a police officer approaches their vehicle. They might claim that they had slept there that whole time because they knew they weren’t sober enough to drive.

Unfortunately, the bad actions of a few can result in consequences for many other people. Officers will be suspicious of those who make certain choices, even if they didn’t technically break the law. You might risk arrest if you sleep while intoxicated in your own vehicle.

Can you sleep it off in your own vehicle?

Many lawyers will readily tell people that they should not sleep in a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, as an officer who finds you there may assume you broke the law. You don’t necessarily need to have the vehicle turned on or be on a road for an officer to allege that you were in a position to drive while drunk.

If they can establish that you were in control of the vehicle, they could potentially convince the prosecutor to bring charges against you. Even if you are in the backseat, your presence inside the vehicle while in an intoxicated state, especially while the keys are also in the vehicle, will appear suspect.

Of course, in a situation where an officer does not have evidence of someone actually driving a vehicle, there may be many means of mounting a viable defense in criminal court. The exact details of what occurred prior to someone’s arrest, including the circumstances that led to someone having too much to drink, can directly influence which defense strategy would be the best option in their scenario.

Challenging the basis of the charges against you, specifically that you drove or intended to drive, could help you avoid a criminal conviction.