Can You Get a Michigan DUI For ‘Sleeping It Off’ In Your Car?

sleeping it off


For people hoping to avoid a drunk driving charge, there are many alternative options. For example, calling a cab or using the Uber app to get a ride. Maybe prearranging a designated driver or even just crashing at a friend’s home so that you don’t have to risk the drive home. However, not everyone plans on those last few drinks or realizes how intoxicated they are until they get behind the wheel and spend 20 minutes fumbling with the keys. So what do you do when you suddenly realize that you’re too drunk to drive?

For a number of people the answer lies in simply sleeping it off in your car. After all, you can’t be accused of drunk driving when you were actually ‘drunk sleeping,’ right? Wrong. The truth is that if you are passed out behind the wheel of a car, with the keys in the ignition, a police officer can arrest you for drunk driving. You may not have been driving at that moment, but there is nothing to say that you weren’t driving under the influence just a few moments ago. Or that you won’t wake up and drive again in a couple of moments.


According to Michigan law, it is entirely possible to be arrested for drunk driving when you were only sleeping it off in your car. This is because the law says that if you were physically in charge of your car at the time, even if you weren’t actually driving, you are still a risk for drunk driving. In other words, a person who is asleep in the backseat of their parked car, with the car keys in their pocket, is probably not in control of their vehicle. On the other hand, a person who is asleep behind the wheel of their car, with the keys in the ignition, is far more likely to be considered ‘in control’ of their car.


So if you choose to sleep it off in your car at any point in the future, we recommend you make sure that you do the following:


  • Your car is in park and not running.

  • Your car is in a safe location where it can remain immobile for potentially hours without obstructing traffic or causing an accident.

  • The keys are not in the ignition (keep them in your pocket, or in the glovebox)

  • You are not in the driver’s seat.


Because this is a somewhat subjective area, an office may give you a ticket anyway, even if there is no chance whatsoever that you could have driven your car at that time. This is where an experienced DUI defense attorney comes in. If you were sleeping in your vehicle when a police officer woke you up and arrested you for drunk driving, contact us at 866 766 5245 as soon as you are able to.


Although there have been a number of incidents where people have been convicted of drunk driving in Michigan when they were asleep in their cars, this doesn’t have to be your situation. At The Kronzek Law Firm, our highly skilled drunk driving defense attorneys have spent years defending the people of Michigan against drunk and drugged driving charges. We understand exactly what is involved in this type of case, and will work extremely hard to ensure that you receive the best possible results for your case. We are here to help you too.


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