Have you ever left a bar or a party and felt like you had too many drinks to drive safely? Did you decide to take a nap in your car in the hopes of waking up feeling sober and refreshed? While this may seem like the safe thing to do, you have to be careful when using your car to “sleep it off.” Maryland law is strict about what constitutes “sleeping it off” versus what counts as being in “physical control” of your vehicle.
Did you have actual physical control of your vehicle?
In order to be convicted of DUI in Maryland, you need to be driving your vehicle, attempting to drive your vehicle, or in actual physical control of your vehicle. In determining whether you had actual physical control of your vehicle, a court will look at a number of factors:
- Was the vehicle running or the ignition on?
- Where in the vehicle were you found? Were you sitting at the wheel or sleeping in the back seat?
- Were you awake or asleep?
- Where were the keys? Were they in the ignition?
- Were the vehicle headlights on?
- Was the vehicle located in the roadway or parked legally?
No one factor alone will necessarily demonstrate actual physical control, but the court will look at the circumstances to determine whether you are controlling the vehicle or using the vehicle as a shelter. Experienced law enforcement officers will focus on these factors when putting together their reports.
How to minimize your risk of being arrested for DUI while “sleeping it off.”
You can minimize your risk of being arrested while sleeping if off in your car if you keep the above factors in mind. Make sure that the car is turned off and the keys are not in the ignition. Be sure that you sleep in the back seat or passenger seat of the car. Turn off the vehicle headlights and only sleep in your car if it is legally parked. The safest choice, however, would be to just call a cab or rideshare to drive you home and pick up your car in the morning.
Contact an experienced DUI lawyer.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI/DWI while sleeping in your car, you need to make sure you have a strong defense. At the law office of Alpert Schreyer, LLC, our clients trust us to use our knowledge and experience to get them the best outcome in their cases. Contact us online or call 866-444-6363 for a free consultation.