Sleeping in Your Car While Drunk in Pennsylvania | What You Must Know

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After over two years in lockdown, businesses, restaurants and bars are reopening. Even better, we’re on the verge of spring. That means you can go out for a night of fun while still being safe. If you become drunk during your night out, you might take the seemingly responsible step of sleeping in your car. But is that a crime? If you do not know the finer points of Pennsylvania DUI and DWI laws, please read on, then contact an experienced Allegheny County DUI lawyer to learn what you must know about sleeping in your car while drunk in Pennsylvania.

Is sleeping in your car while drunk a crime in Pennsylvania?

Sometimes, when you leave a bar or party, you know you are too drunk to drive. You may be tempted to sleep in your car, thinking you are being responsible. But the police can still arrest you for a DUI because Pennsylvania’s laws are very strict. That means that, yes, sleeping in your car could be a crime in Pennsylvania, even if the car is not moving. It depends on the circumstances and the officer’s discretion.

When can you sleep in a running car while drunk in Pennsylvania?

You should always avoid sleeping in your car while you’re under the influence. But, if you must sleep in your car, here are some tips to help show that you were not in actual physical control:

  • Avoid moving your car, regardless of the distance
  • Refrain from turning on the engine
  • Ensure the heat, air conditioning, radio, headlights and windshield wipers are turned off
  • Sleep in the back seat rather than the driver’s seat
  • Keep your hands and feet away from the pedals and steering wheels
  • Place your keys in the glove compartment, center console, trunk or another inconvenient location
  • Prior to falling asleep, contact someone and inform them of your plan to sleep in your car until you are sober

Keep in mind that even if you do follow these tips, police can still arrest you for a DUI. Therefore, it is in your best interest to avoid falling asleep drunk in your car. Instead, take a taxi.

What constitutes evidence of intent to drive while drunk?

Establishing your state of mind is crucial in determining your guilt or innocence in a DUI case. Staggering out of a bar with your car keys in your hand, approaching the driver’s side of your car and getting behind the wheel is never a good look. Police can arrest you. In their eyes, you had clear and obvious intent of operating a motor vehicle. Nevertheless, these cases, yours included, are never so simple. Let a skilled Pittsburgh DUI attorney speak for you.

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The Law Office of George Heym focuses exclusively on DUI defense. George Heym is a former Allegheny County DUI prosecutor with an understanding of both sides of a DUI case, notable litigation experience, and relationships with local courts. Contact our firm to fight for your rights.

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