Can I Be Charged With Drunk Driving for Sleeping in a Parked Car?

June 23, 2023

Drunk Driving for Sleeping in a Parked Car

Many people do not realize that if you are sleeping in a vehicle while intoxicated, the police in Pennsylvania can charge you with driving under the influence (DUI). You might think that if you were out celebrating with friends and had too much to drink, the right thing to do is wait in your car until you are sober, but it is best not to enter the car. The police could assume you intended to operate the vehicle and arrest you.

What Should I Do if I Had Too Much to Drink?

If you know you are going out for drinks, it is always best to designate a driver who will not indulge in alcohol. That being said, sometimes, for various reasons, you may find yourself in a situation where you arrive at an event in your car but have had too much to drink. In this situation, it is best to leave your vehicle behind and return for it the next day. Get a ride home from someone sober or call a taxi or rideshare service.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania?

If the police charge you with a DUI because you were sleeping in your car after drinking too much, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor, have to attend alcohol safety school, receive up to six months of probation, and pay a $300 fine. That is only if you have no prior offenses on your record. If you already have one prior DUI offense, then you could lose your license for a year, spend between five days and six months in jail, owe a fine anywhere from $300 to $2,500, and have an ignition interlock installed for a year – in addition to the misdemeanor charge and alcohol safety school requirement.

Your chances of being convicted depend primarily on the details as to where you were sleeping in the car and how skilled your lawyer is in crafting a defense for your case. The goal is to prove that you had no intention of driving and were genuinely getting into the car to sleep. Many other legal strategies can be used to reduce charges or have them dismissed. Consult with an experienced lawyer immediately to determine your legal options.

West Chester DUI Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Fight for the Rights of Pennsylvania Drivers

A DUI citation is serious. Contact our West Chester DUI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes to learn how we can help you. Call 610-431-7900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.

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