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In Arizona, can you get a DUI for sleeping in your parked car while you are drunk?

Posted on May 29, 2020 in Drunk Driving Charges

Is it possible falling asleep in your vehicle after a night of drinking can sometimes get you charged with driving under the influence in Arizona? In some states, only if there is proof you were actually driving the vehicle while under the influence. However, in Arizona, there are two ways to get a charged with a DUI:

  1. Driving while impaired to the slightest degree or over a .08
  2. Being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while you are impaired to the slightest degree or over a .08

So being caught sleeping or “behind the wheel” in a car drunk, may lead to DUI charges.

What is the Actual Physical Control (APC) Law?

The actual physical control law (APC) allows a person to get a DUI if they are not driving but in APC. A person that passes out at a stoplight, with the car in drive and their foot on the brake, can still get a DUI because that person is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. Therefore, in Arizona, it is possible to get arrested and charged for a DUIwithout driving.

Defenses Against DUI Charges – Actual Physical Control

However, APC is one of the best defenses to use against DUI charges because the law allows you to use the motor vehicle as a stationary shelter. Thus, if the defendant was simply using the vehicle as a stationary shelter and does not pose a threat to the public by the exercise of present or imminent control, he or she is not guilty of a DUI. Factors that ajury can look to are:

  1. Whether the vehicle was running
  2. Whether the ignition was on
  3. Where the ignition key was located
  4. Where and in what position the driver was found in the vehicle
  5. Whether the person was awake or asleep
  6. Whether the vehicle’s headlights were on
  7. Where the vehicle was stopped
  8. Whether the driver had voluntarily pulled off the road
  9. Time of day
  10. Weather conditions
  11. Whether the heater or air conditioner was on
  12. Whether the windows were up or down
  13. Any explanation of the circumstances shown by the evidence.

If a drunk person, walks, out of a bar, to his car in the parking lot, starts the car to run the heater, charge his cell phone, and sleep until he sobers up. He is using the car as a stationary shelter and would likely be found not guilty by a jury.

What to do if you facing DUI charges in Arizona?

DUI is a serious charge with mandatory jail time in Arizona. If you are facing DUI charges, after being arrested drunk parked or sleeping in your care, you must speak with an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Here at Rosenstein Law Group, we have the only two board-certified DUI Defense lawyers in Maricopa County. Every case is unique andrequires care and diligence by the defense team. We take a team approach to all our client’s cases to utilize the over 100 years combined experience of our DUI defense attorneys in building the best defense for your case to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Schedule your free initial consultation today with one of Rosenstein Law Groups’ experienced and successful attorneys. Fill out a contact form online here or by calling today.

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