It isn’t illegal to sleep in your vehicle. You might even think it’s a wise decision to sleep in your car rather than drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, risking your life and the lives of others. It’s important to note, however, that you could still face DUI charges if you are asleep in your vehicle while intoxicated.
According to Virginia statute § 18.2-266, it is unlawful for someone to operate or drive a motor vehicle:
- With a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher;
- While under the influence of alcohol;
- While under the influence of a narcotic drug, self-administered intoxicant, or combination of drugs that impair safe driving abilities;
- While under the influence of combined drugs or alcohol or drugs that impair the ability to drive safely;
- With a BAC of at least 0.02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood, 0.1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine per liter of blood, 0.01 milligrams of phencyclidine per liter of blood, or 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood.
Since state law defines DUI as “driving or operating” a motor vehicle, your car doesn’t have to be in motion. If you’re in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition at the time of your arrest, you could potentially face DUI charges.
When Falling Asleep Could Lead to DUI Charges
Whether or not your car was moving, law enforcement could still arrest you on suspicion of DUI if you are behind the wheel of your vehicle while under the influence. Factors that could result in a DUI conviction include:
- The key is in the ignition
- The hood of the vehicle is warm to the touch, indicating recent activity
- The engine is running
- You are sleeping in the driver’s seat
- Your car is parked on the side of the road or in a parking lot in front of a bar
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Could Help
A common defense against a DUI charge is to demonstrate that the individual was not operating the vehicle. If law enforcement found you sleeping in the back seat, or if your key was stored in the glove compartment or elsewhere, these circumstances could throw their case against you into question.
At Whitestone Young, our experienced Fairfax DUI defense lawyers fight for the rights of those accused of crimes in our community. We could review the circumstances of your arrest and determine the best strategy for getting the charges against you reduced or dropped altogether.
Contact a Fairfax DUI Defense Attorney
If you were arrested or charged with DUI after falling asleep in your car, do not hesitate to contact Whitestone Young, PC. We have defended clients in criminal cases for over 40 years. You can depend on us to fight for you. Call us at (703) 591-0200 or reach out to us online for a confidential consultation.