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Can you get a DUI for sleeping in your car?

Imagine that you're out at the bar with friends, and you don't think you've had too much to drink. When you get behind the wheel to drive home, though, it suddenly becomes clear that it's not safe for you to drive. You want to make the right choice, so you decide to pull over, sleep in your car for the night, and drive home when you're sober. Can you still get a DUI?

You won't in all cases, but the precedent has been set. Courts have charged people with DUIs even when they weren't driving. For example, one person was asleep and had the keys in a pocket, clearly not in the ignition, but still got charges.

This seems a bit unfair when you're trying to do the right thing and get off the road, but the police often just give out a DUI if they think you illegally drove before going to sleep.

For example, you may get a DUI if they find you pulled over on the side of the road, even if you're legally parked. They'll assume you were drunk when you drove to that location. You may be more likely to give you a DUI if you are in the driver's seat while you're sleeping, whereas you may avoid one -- but may not -- if you got into the back bench seat and laid down. Officers also sometimes look to see if the keys are in the ignition or not -- though the example above shows that doesn't always matter.

If you've been given a DUI and you believe it was unjust, look into your legal defense options in Arizona.

Source: FIndLaw, "How to Sleep It Off in Your Car Without Getting a DUI," Christopher Coble, accessed May 13, 2016

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