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Sleeping it off? You could still get a DUI

Many people seem to think the only way the police can give you a DUI is if they catch you driving a vehicle while under the influence. That is what happened last New Year's weekend when police around Phoenix arrested 30 people on suspicion of drunk driving

However, law enforcement does not necessarily have to catch you actually driving the vehicle to give you a DUI. Many people assume they are safe if they merely sleep in their car after a night of drinking. In this circumstance, the police can still issue a DUI as long as they suspect you were in physical control of the vehicle. It is best to find some other place to spend the night to sleep off the impairment.

Being in physical control of the car

The police can interpret Arizona laws how they see fit depending on the circumstances. In many cases, as long as you could have operated a vehicle while intoxicated, the police can arrest you for DUI. For example, if they catch you sleeping in the front seat with the key in the ignition, then they can reasonably assume you could have taken off at any time while drunk.

Additionally, the police may be able to tell if you drove while drunk earlier in the evening. If you parked your car off on the road's shoulder and then decided to take a nap, then the police can come along and assume you drove drunk to get to that shoulder. 

Taking appropriate action

You are better off sleeping it off in a hotel room or friend's place to be safe if you cannot get home yourself. If your car is your only option, then you want to make it clear you had no intention of driving. You should sleep in the back seat. Keep your keys in the glovebox or your pocket or purse. Do not keep them in the ignition. Finally, do not turn on the ignition or the headlights. 

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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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