When a person is too drunk to drive, one of the most common alternatives to intoxicated driving is sleeping in the car. Unfortunately, depending on the circumstances, a sleeping individual can still get a DUI in Nevada.
Is it Illegal to Sleep in your Car in Nevada?
Under certain circumstances, sleeping in a car is illegal and can result in a DUI in Nevada if:
- The individual is drunk or high, or has an illegal amount of alcohol or controlled substances in the bloodstream.
- The individual is in “actual physical control” of the car.
The Nevada Supreme Court in Rogers v. State said a person is in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle “when the person has existing or present bodily restraint, directing, influence, domination, or regulation of the vehicle.” In other words, a sleeping individual is considered to be in control of a vehicle if the key is simply in the ignition—despite the engine not being on. Or if the motorist is asleep in the driver’s seat or the car is parked in an area which suggests that the motorist drove there while intoxicated, he/she can also be convicted of DUI.
At the Law Office of Kenneth A. Stover, we recommend that you do not risk a DUI arrest by sleeping in your car. Instead, contact a sober friend to pick you up, request a ride from Uber or Lyft, or take public transportation home. However, if you do happen to find yourself in such a situation, you need to make it difficult for law enforcement and the prosecution to prove that you were in actual physical control.
The following are steps to avoid getting a DUI for “sleeping it off” in your car:
- Keep the car keys away from the ignition
- Store the keys either in the trunk or outside the vehicle, as long as it’s out of arm’s reach
- Turn the engine off
- Sleep in the backseat
- Ensure your vehicle is parked in a legal spot
If you follow these steps, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to raise sufficient reasonable doubt as to whether you committed DUI. If the prosecutor cannot prove that you drove while intoxicated, it could be difficult for them to obtain a guilty verdict for drunk driving.
For more information about DUI, contact our Reno DUI attorney and schedule a free consultation today.