If you have spent an evening drinking and you know you are not safe to drive home, you may think that you can just take a nap in your car until you feel well enough to drive. However, just taking a quick nap in your car can land you in trouble. You could even get arrested for driving under the influence. Here is what you need to know:
Do You Have to Be Driving to Get Arrested for DUI?
In some states, you do not have to be actively driving your vehicle to be arrested on a DUI charge. Some states are referred to as "actual physical control". This means that the person who is in the driver's seat, driving or not, can be arrested because he or she had the ability to drive the vehicle even if you do not have the engine on.
What Constitutes Actual Physical Control?
According to the laws in some states, there are some specific parameters that must be met to be arrested for DUI under the actual physical control statute. In addition to being physically seated in the driver's seat, other factors include the keys engaged in the ignition whether or not the engine is on, the fact that the engine is on even if the vehicle is in the park position, the radio is on, or if the vehicle's air conditioner or heater is on.
How Does a DUI Arrest Happen?
If you fall asleep in the driver's seat of your car and the police find you, they can start out by questioning you. If the police suspect you have been drinking, they will ask you to take a field sobriety test. If you do not pass the test, and you meet the requirements of actual physical control, you can then be arrested.
The police officer can determine you should be placed under arrest because you had the opportunity to drive your vehicle while intoxicated. Each arrest is different and can vary based on all of your circumstances. If they perceive that you were about to drive your car prior to going to sleep, they can legally make the arrest.
While this may seem unfair, it is absolutely a possibility in many states. If this happens to you, you need a DUI lawyer to help you. Your attorney can help you build a case that may get you out of the charges, or at least get a lighter sentence.