A case recently decided by the Minnesota Supreme Court obviously does not establish precedent in Illinois, but it's a great example of the debate over whether sleeping in your car while drunk, with the engine off, constitutes drunk driving (StarTribune).
The Minnesota Supreme Court certainly thinks so, at least in the case of a man convicted on DWI (driving while intoxicated) charges, even though he was asleep in his parked car with the keys on the console. Justices based their decision on the conclusion that the defendant was in "physical control" of his car when he was arrested.
Physical control? Was he not making a wise decision by sleeping it off instead of driving?
Well, he was found drunk and snoozing in his assigned parking spot at his apartment complex, so it could also be argued that he either returned from somewhere (presumably drunk) or had considered driving but passed out. It's mere speculation, though, since he also could have gotten drunk and decided to rock some tunes on his car stereo.
A search for similar cases turned up plenty.
In one case, a New Jersey man was convicted for drunk driving after he allegedly decided to sleep off his intoxication in the parking lot of a deli instead of driving home (TheNewspaper.com). Other cases are fairly similar but I wasn't able to find any from Illinois.
Either the state is not so strict about "non-driving" DUIs or I just need to keep searching (better ask an Illinois DUI attorney about that one). But it seems as if a lot of folks are getting arrested for DUIs for making the responsible choice not to drive.
- Can You Be Arrested For a DUI If You're Not Driving? (FindLaw Answer Board)
- Drunk Driving: Elements of the Offense (FindLaw)
- Chicago DUI Lawyers (FindLaw)