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Sleeping off drunkenness in a car can still land you a DUI

You do not have to drive a vehicle to end up with a DUI. According to Arizona law, individuals who have any physical control over a vehicle can face arrest for driving while under the influence. That means if you have the capacity to drive your vehicle, even if you simply wanted to sleep it off, the police can arrest you for driving under the influence if you have a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent. 

You could be in the parking lot of a bar. If the police catch you snoozing with alcohol in your system, then you could end up in jail with a suspended license.

Many factors at play

Being in "physical control" of your vehicle can have several definitions. If the cops catch you sleeping in the driver's seat with your keys in the ignition, then they can reasonably assume you have the power to start driving at a moment's notice. However, a person could place the keys in the trunk of the vehicle and take a nap in the backseat. In this instance, the police have a harder case of saying you could drive whenever you felt like. 

Another factor the authorities consider is the location of the vehicle. For example, the police may catch a person sleeping in the car on the side of a busy road. They determine the person has alcohol in his or her system, and they assume the driver operated the vehicle earlier in the evening when the BAC would have been much higher. Conversely, sleeping it off in a parking lot shows you probably did not drive earlier.

Other accommodations

Sleeping it off in your car may sound like a good idea, but you always want to play it safe than sorry. Find another way home even if you need to leave your car by the bar overnight. There may even be a hotel in the vicinity you can spend the night, so you are not that far away from your vehicle. 

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The Nolan Law Firm
1744 S Val Vista Drive, Suite 210
Mesa, AZ 85204

Phone: 480-359-3457
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