Arrested for snoozing in your car after boozing in a bar? Instead of risking a DUI charge or a car accident, a lot of inebriated people choose to sleep in their cars until they’re sober enough to drive. However, you can still be charged with DUI if a police officer catches you sleeping behind the wheel, even if you were parked on the roadside or in a parking lot. In Florida, it’s illegal to sleep in your parked car if you were legally impaired to drive it and you had actual, physical control of your car.
Whether you had such control depends on how close you and your car keys were to the ignition. A jury will probably find that you had actual, physical control of your vehicle if you were sleeping in the driver’s seat while the engine was on. A jury might not conclude the same, however, if the engine was off and the keys were lying on the passenger’s seat or backseat. You stand an even better chance of acquittal if you took the keys out of the ignition and passed out in the backseat. The farther your body and car keys were from the ignition, the less likely a jury will find that you had actual, physical control of the vehicle.
Now the location of your body and keys does not matter so much when an officer finds you sleeping behind the wheel at a traffic light or intersection. Naturally he will assume that you had been drinking or taking illegal drugs, but there could be an innocent explanation for your condition. Excessive sleep deprivation, a sleep disorder, a medical condition or your cold and flu medicine could have caused you to pass out. Whatever the reason, a dedicated criminal defense attorney will try to find it using every available means to get the most favorable result for you.
It’s very important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately after your DUI arrest. He can help you keep your driving privileges, investigate the circumstances of your DUI arrest and prepare your best possible defense.