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Sleeping in Your Car While Intoxicated

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Some might think that after having a few beers at a party or at the bar, rather than risk driving home, they can sleep off the inebriation in their cars. However, this may not be a great idea either. According to California law, a driver can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) if they are found sleeping inside their vehicle while intoxicated.

According to California Vehicle Code VC 40300.5, an officer doesn’t have to observe driving to charge an individual with a DUI. An officer is permitted to make an arrest whenever he or she has probable cause to believe the person has been driving while under the influence.

Likewise, they can make the arrest if any of the following are true:

  1. The driver may destroy or conceal evidence of the crime unless immediately arrested
  2. The driver was involved in a traffic accident of any kind
  3. The driver is in or around a vehicle that is obstructing a roadway
  4. The driver may cause injury to himself or herself or damage property unless arrested
  5. The driver will not be apprehended unless immediately arrested

According to cases in the past, it’s not even necessary to convict a person of a DUI even if a police officer didn’t actually observe the car moving. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient to establish you may have been driving, including warm parts of the vehicle, if the car is in any section of the roadway (including slightly over the shoulder line), the car is damaged and next to the scene of an accident, the car’s gear is in drive, or your keys are in the car.

If you are inebriated, it might be best to get a friend to drive you home or to take a ridesharing service to and/ or from the place where you drank alcohol. However, if you have been arrested for a DUI under these circumstances, make sure you speak to an experienced Encino DUI attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Scott Spindel has extensive courtroom and trial experience to put to work on your case. Talk to him about your situation, and he can offer you skilled legal advice on your best course of action.


Contact us at (888) 973-0209 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.

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