Can You Get A DUI For Sleeping In Your Car?
DUI charges can be serious and complex, with potentially drastic consequences for the accused. In Georgia, the laws related to DUIs can be confusing, and many people do not understand whether or not you can be arrested for DUI if you weren’t driving.
One question that often emerges is, “Can someone get a DUI for sleeping in their car?” Below, we will explain the concept of “actual physical control” to give you a better understanding of how Georgia’s DUI laws work. If you are facing DUI charges for sleeping in your car drunk, contact our Doraville DUI lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers to get legal help.
Georgia DUI Law
The Georgia DUI law states that driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants is a crime. The state enforces a minimum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% for drivers aged 21 and over. The legal limit is lower for drivers aged under 21 and for commercial drivers. However, Georgia has a broader DUI law that considers not only driving but also “actual physical control” of the vehicle.
What Is “Actual Physical Control” of the Vehicle?
According to Georgia Code § 40-6-391, a person can be convicted of DUI if they had “actual physical control” of the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants, even if they were not driving the car. “Actual physical control” means that the person was in a position to operate the vehicle, such as sitting in the driver’s seat, with access to the keys, and able to start the engine.
Examples of Actual Physical Control of the Vehicle When Not Driving
Several situations could lead to a DUI charge under the “actual physical control” concept, even if the person wasn’t driving. Examples of such situations can include:
- sleeping in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition;
- sitting in the car with the keys in the lap; or
- even sleeping in the backseat with access to the keys.
The officer’s judgment determines a person’s “actual physical control” and they may evaluate a variety of factors, such as the location of the keys, whether the engine is running, and the defendant’s intent.
Can You Be Arrested for DUI if You Weren’t Seen Driving?
Yes, a person can be arrested for DUI if they weren’t seen driving but were in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. The police can arrest you even if they didn’t see you driving, as long as they believe you were operating the vehicle under the influence or could have taken control of the vehicle.
Can You Get a DUI for Sleeping in Your Car?
The answer is yes, you can get a DUI for sleeping in your car under certain circumstances. If you are sleeping in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, in your hands, or on your lap, this could result in a DUI arrest. However, if you are sleeping in the backseat, a DUI charge is less likely, assuming there is no evidence that you could have taken control of the vehicle.
Arrested for DUI? Call Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers
While sleeping in your car may seem like a safe option if you have been drinking, Georgia law can still consider you to be in “actual physical control” of the vehicle, which can result in DUI charges. If you were charged with DUI when you were merely sleeping in your car, our lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers might be able to help.
Our DUI defense lawyers represent people facing drunk driving charges throughout Georgia, including Doraville, Roswell, Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, and Sandy Springs. We also serve clients in Cobb County, Fulton County, and Gwinnett County. Discuss the facts of your case today by calling 770-685-6400.