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Wake-Up Call: Don't Get a DUI While Sleeping and Parked

Monday, June 3, 2013 11:33
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Sleeping in your car while drunk, and drinking in your parked car, can both land you a DUI in Chicago.

While most DUI arrests occur when a driver is pulled over by law enforcement for driving while intoxicated, a “parked DUI” can be just as illegal.

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State Law

In Illinois, a driver can be convicted of a DUI for either driving or being in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while intoxicated.

Paradoxically, you don’t have to be driving to be convicted of driving under the influence, you just need to be “in control” of your car and have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more

Actual Physical Control

Other state courts, like Colorado’s Supreme Court, have determined that even if a person is sleeping in their car, he has “control” of his vehicle to qualify for a DUI.

In a Minnesota court decision, a man was found guilty of a DUI for being drunk and asleep in his parked car in his assigned parking spot.

The car may not necessary need to be in operation, or even moving, for a driver to be considered “in control” of the vehicle.

Former Governor’s Son Arrested for a ‘Sleeping DUI’

Proving that Illinois takes sleeping DUIs seriously too, in November 2012, George H. Ryan Jr. — son of former Gov. George Ryan — was arrested for DUI after police found him sleeping in his running, parked pickup truck.

Ryan refused a breathalyzer test and failed the standard field sobriety test once police awoke him, and the same could happen to any Illinoisan.

Tips for Avoiding a ‘Sleeping DUI’

Although moving to the side of the road when you feel too intoxicated to drive seems like the correct impulse, it might still leave you open to a DUI charge.

Following these tips can potentially help you avoid a DUI, parked or otherwise:

  • Don’t drink and get into a car. Even being in actual physical possession of your vehicle can lead to trouble once you’re intoxicated.
  • If you feel tipsy, call a cab. Going to your parked car to sleep it off or pulling over on the side of the road while sauced is, legally speaking, a no-go.
  • Have a designated driver. If you want to get drunk, make sure someone else (a legal adult) is driving, then you can sleep it off in the passenger seat.

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Total 3 comments
  • Bronson

    I know a guy, he was just a passenger, the driver left the car parked, and took off with a girl friends leaving his drunk friend in the parked car. The drunk was smart enough to hide the keys, and sleep it off, and not drive the car. A cop came by, asked him where the keys are, the drunk said his friend took the keys, and will return later to get the vehicle……….the cop said go back to sleep.

    • Bronson

      Just to add, that is why they always say never leave the keys in the ignition, and in cases like this hide the keys, do not put them in your pocket.
      If your sleeping a few drinks off it is the smart thing to do, no reason to be punished for it.

      • Freeamerican

        Good strategy advice from one drunk to another LOL!
        Hey, here’s another idea…if you find yourself passing out in your vehicle from alcohol intoxication, consider rehab and stop your addiction.

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