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When you make the decision to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, you make the first of many important decisions for the evening. You make the decision to imbibe, and you make the decision knowing you must get home safely. You either decide in that moment to risk driving home under the influence, to enjoy yourself wholeheartedly because you have a designated driver, or to call for a cab or rideshare service to get you home. If you make the decision to get behind the wheel of your car, you’re making a dangerous decision. However, there is one way to get behind the wheel of your car after drinking and not get a DUI or risk an accident in the process.
Sleeping it Off in the Car
If you drink a bit too much, you have to make a decision. If you’re out of options and you cannot get home safely, you might make the decision to get in your vehicle and sleep it off, which is fine. However, you need to know how to do this legally without risking a DUI. This is a precarious situation, however, so you need to know exactly what constitutes as DUI and how you can avoid being arrested even if you get in your car and decide you should not drive home. Making the right decision is good, but sometimes it’s just a little bit too late. Follow these tips.
1. Don’t Move Your Car – Do not under any circumstance move your car if you are drunk. Did you know you could be arrested for driving under the influence if you get behind the wheel of your car and make the decision to stay in your car for the night but you first move the car to a more discreet place in the parking lot? You move your car one inch while under the influence, and it’s an automatic DUI if you get caught.
2. Don’t Get in the Driver’s Seat – The single best way to sleep it off in your car if you are under the influence is to sleep anywhere but the driver’s seat. No officer can mistake you for taking a break driving if you are in the back seat or the passenger seat. You’re not in the driver’s seat, so there is no reason for them to suspect you are driving under the influence or that you were.
3. Get Rid of Your Keys – If you are going to sleep it off in your car, do it without your keys on your person. Put them somewhere else, but do not put them in the ignition. Put them in the glove box, the storage compartment, or even put them in the trunk. If they are not on your body, you are less likely to look like you were drinking and driving and simply stopped to take a rest when you realized you couldn’t get very much further.
4. Do Not Start the Car – The law is different in every state, but some states will still charge you with a DUI for operating your vehicle at all if you are under the influence. This involves simply turning it on while you’re under the influence. The problem here is the weather can be dangerous if you in the car without it on. It might be too cold or too hot for you to sleep in the car without it on. That’s another decision you need to make in this situation.
Is Sleeping it Off in the Car A Good Idea?
Anything other than driving your vehicle while intoxicated is a good idea, but you might still find yourself in a dangerous situation. The best thing you can do if you feel the need to sleep it off is either call a cab, a friend, or stay where you are. You can even call the non-emergency hotline to speak to a police officer about what you can do to get home if you have no options. Calling and making the responsible decision is always better than making a risky decision that could harm someone or put your future at risk.
Sleeping it off is better than driving under the influence, but you have to do it right or risk a DUI. While many police officers will see that you’re doing the right thing sleeping in your car in a parking lot, there are always those who will ask you to get out of the car, assess the situation, and arrest you for DUI. It’s your job to prove you never turned on the car or moved it at all. For this, you need an experienced DUI attorney. You have the right to an attorney, and it’s a right you must take when you are arrested and charged with a DUI.