If I am Sleeping in My Car in Florida, Can I be Arrested for DUI?
If you’ve been drinking and think that you’ve had too much to drive all the way home, pulling off the road and trying to sleep it off for a few hours sounds like a pretty good idea. In the state of Florida, however, you can still end up facing DUI charges, just for trying to do the right thing and protect yourself and other motorists.
Florida law makes it illegal to sleep in your parked car if you were legally impaired to drive it and you are able to turn on the car and drive away. It’s called being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, and it’s a question that we litigate in court on a daily basis when we fight DUI cases.
Did You Have Actual Physical Control Over Your Vehicle?
In order to be charged with DUI while sleeping in your vehicle, you must have actual physical control over your vehicle. This determination depends mostly on how close you are to the car’s ignition, as well as to your car keys.
For instance, if you fell asleep in the driver’s seat with the keys still in the ignition and the car running, it is likely that you had physical control over the vehicle because you could just wake up and drive away. However, some fact situations are not so clear. For example, if you pass out in the back seat of your car and your car keys are in your pocket, there is an argument that you did not have physical control over the vehicle.
Essentially, the farther away you and your keys are from the driver’s seat and ignition, the better off you will be. If your keys are in the glove compartment or better yet in the trunk, you’d have an explanation that you had no intention of driving. If you’re arrested anyway, you can use that as a defense to a judge or jury. If your keys are nowhere to be found because your friend took them away from you, and you are asleep in the car, then you arguably didn’t have control over the vehicle, which may exonerate you from any DUI charges. If the car is inoperable, you would also have a possible defense.
Were You Legally Impaired to Drive?
Being charged with DUI when a police officer finds you asleep in your car also is dependent on the nature and extent of your impairment. There are other reasons that you might choose to sleep in your car besides legal impairment.
For example, you could have driven for several hours without much sleep the night before and you are simply exhausted. You may have a sleeping disorder. You may have taken cold medication that made you too drowsy to drive.
Whatever the case may be, if there is another explanation for you choosing to sleep in your car, it may help defend you against DUI charges.
If you find yourself in this predicament, contact Miami DUI Lawyer Albert Quirantes for Help Today
As explained above, whether you should face DUI charges for sleeping in your car is an extremely fact-dependent question, and the outcome can vary widely from one case to the next. As a result, if you are ever facing DUI charges or other alcohol-related charges, you should immediately call an experienced DUI defense attorney for advice and representation.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.