Wake-Up Call: Don't Get a DUI While Sleeping and Parked - The Chicago DUI Law Blog

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Wake-Up Call: Don't Get a DUI While Sleeping and Parked

Sleeping in your car while drunk, and drinking in your parked car, can both land you a DUI in Chicago.

While most DUI arrests occur when a driver is pulled over by law enforcement for driving while intoxicated, a "parked DUI" can be just as illegal.

State Law

In Illinois, a driver can be convicted of a DUI for either driving or being in "actual physical control" of a vehicle while intoxicated.

Paradoxically, you don't have to be driving to be convicted of driving under the influence, you just need to be "in control" of your car and have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more

Actual Physical Control

Other state courts, like Colorado's Supreme Court, have determined that even if a person is sleeping in their car, he has "control" of his vehicle to qualify for a DUI.

In a Minnesota court decision, a man was found guilty of a DUI for being drunk and asleep in his parked car in his assigned parking spot.

The car may not necessary need to be in operation, or even moving, for a driver to be considered "in control" of the vehicle.

Former Governor's Son Arrested for a 'Sleeping DUI'

Proving that Illinois takes sleeping DUIs seriously too, in November 2012, George H. Ryan Jr. -- son of former Gov. George Ryan -- was arrested for DUI after police found him sleeping in his running, parked pickup truck.

Ryan refused a breathalyzer test and failed the standard field sobriety test once police awoke him, and the same could happen to any Illinoisan.

Tips for Avoiding a 'Sleeping DUI'

Although moving to the side of the road when you feel too intoxicated to drive seems like the correct impulse, it might still leave you open to a DUI charge.

Following these tips can potentially help you avoid a DUI, parked or otherwise:

  • Don't drink and get into a car. Even being in actual physical possession of your vehicle can lead to trouble once you're intoxicated.
  • If you feel tipsy, call a cab. Going to your parked car to sleep it off or pulling over on the side of the road while sauced is, legally speaking, a no-go.
  • Have a designated driver. If you want to get drunk, make sure someone else (a legal adult) is driving, then you can sleep it off in the passenger seat.

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