Can you get a DUI for sleeping in your car?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | DUI

After drinking alcohol, you may feel too drunk to drive home safely. You might consider sleeping in your car until you sober up.

While the decision not to drive is the right one, what you do next can still violate the law. To know if you are breaking the law, ask yourself the following questions.

Are you in control of the vehicle?

Pennsylvania law states that after consuming alcohol, drivers violate the law by operating, driving or being in control of a vehicle. So, while you may not be driving your car at the time in question, you might face a DUI charge if you are still in a position to drive away.

Is there reasonable evidence that you drove your car while intoxicated?

How you sleep in your car can impact whether you get charged with a DUI. If you are asleep in the bar parking lot while in the passenger or rear seat and the engine is off, an officer might see that you have not driven the vehicle and do not have the car in your control. However, if you are asleep against the steering wheel on the side of the highway with the engine running, an officer may find reasonable evidence that you drove the car to that point before falling asleep.

While officers may not have seen you driving the vehicle while intoxicated, they can still charge you with a DUI if evidence exists that you drove the vehicle or have control and can drive the car while drunk.

If you have too much to drink and want to sleep it off in your car, stay away from the driver’s seat to help decrease your chance of getting a DUI.