Our law firm serves clients in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and throughout southwest Michigan.

Can you still get a DUI if you’re sleeping it off?

When you get behind the wheel after a night out or a get together with friends, you might realize that those drinks you had are still in your system and impacting you much more than you think.

So, you decide to sleep it off in your vehicle. But could you still be charged with a DUI in this situation?

The circumstances are often subjective

The short answer is yes – there is still a risk of facing a DUI charge even if you are not actually driving and sleeping it off.

But many drivers might wonder: how is this possible?

Under Michigan law, you are still in control of your vehicle if you are in the driver’s seat, even if you are not driving. Therefore, if the police find you in the driver’s seat while under the influence of alcohol, they could still charge you with a DUI or OWI if there is the intent to drive or a risk that you might operate the vehicle while impaired.

How can you avoid this?

As you can see, this is a very complex situation. Even if drivers take steps to avoid driving drunk, they could still face penalties.

However, there are precautions that drivers can take to prevent this situation and make it clear that they have no intention to operate a vehicle under the influence.

It can help if drivers:

  • Park in a safe place: Make sure you are off the main roads and in a safe area. Cars parked on the side of the road are not only a safety hazard, but may also raise suspicion.
  • Stay out of the driver’s seat: This makes it clear you have no intention to drive. If you want to sleep it off, get in the back seat of your vehicle to do so.
  • Put the keys elsewhere: If the keys are in the ignition or even on your person, police might be able to surmise that there is a risk of you operating the vehicle under the influence. Putting the keys in the glove box or even in the trunk is another precaution to show you have no intent to drive.

The safest route is often still to have a designated driver, or to call a rideshare service and avoid this risk altogether. However, taking these steps when sleeping it off can help protect your rights and reduce the chance of facing charges.

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