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Washington DUI Charges: It’s Illegal to Sleep It Off in Your Car

Posted by Steve Karimi | Mar 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

Many people are shocked to learn, often the hard way, that they can be charged with DUI even when they were not driving. It may seem to make sense after an evening of having a few drinks to sleep for a while in the car until the alcohol metabolizes through your system, except that Washington law does not agree. In fact, the law may incriminate you depending on the circumstances and make it possible for you to be charged with “Driving While Intoxicated” even if you did not actually drive the car.

When Can You Be Charged with DUI without Driving?

Naturally, most DUIs happen when someone drinks too much, gets into their car, and drives while intoxicated. The law says a person should not operate a vehicle while intoxicated. How the word “operate” is interpreted explains how a person may be charged with DUI without driving.

One argument is known as Driving-in-fact. This contentious element relates to whether or not someone was “operating” the vehicle when he or she was arrested. Usually, the court will decide if the car was turned on, if the parking brake was applied, if the car was in gear, as well as other characteristics that could indicate the “intent” to drive while intoxicated.

Another argument is Attempted DUI. When someone enters their vehicle while intoxicated with the intent to drive it but for whatever reason, does not drive. An example of this may be someone trying to get a car out of a ditch while intoxicated. He or she did not drive the vehicle anywhere but was trying to.

Finally, there is the argument of DUI from Circumstantial Evidence. Another circumstance that could fit into this category is when police find evidence that a person who was intoxicated moved the car and parked it. Law enforcement never actually witnessed the drunk driver behind the wheel. If the engine is still warm, if there are recent snow tracks, or some other evidence indicating the drunk person drove the vehicle in a state of intoxication, Circumstantial Evidence DUI charges could be filed.

How to Sleep Off Alcohol WITHOUT fear of DUI Charges

Choosing NOT to drive while intoxicated is always the best choice. However, if ride services or another option does not exist, here are some tips to nap without fear of being arrested for DUI:

  • Turn off the car and remove keys from the ignition.
  • Park in a parking lot, side road, or quiet street; do not park on a busy road.
  • Get out of the driver's seat and sleep in the back seat or passenger seat.
  • If the police stop by for a wellness check, never admit to any intent on driving soon.

Any DUI charge is serious. Call Karimi Law Office today to learn more about your rights. Our DUI legal team can help you fight your charges and get the best results. Call today.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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