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Can you get arrested for a DWI if you sleep it off in your car?

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2022 | DUI/DWI/Drunk Driving

There are some people who accidentally commit driving while intoxicated (DWI) infractions because they cannot accurately tell when they have had too much to drink. These people might get behind the wheel when they are legally drunk because they don’t recognize their own impairment.

If you had a little bit too much fun at your best friend’s birthday party or your annual company picnic, you might think that the safest solution is to sleep it off in your vehicle. It is perfectly legal to sleep in a parked vehicle, but your decision to sleep in your car might lead to DWI charges even though you didn’t drive.

Officers can’t know the decisions you made

When a police officer sees your vehicle and comes over to check the situation, they don’t know what happened before that moment. They don’t know that you made a conscious decision to not drive and instead went to sleep so that you had time to sober up before driving. All they know is that you are in the driver’s seat of a vehicle, and you appear to be under the influence when they knock on the door to check on you.

Although the vehicle is off, the fact that you are in the driver’s seat might give the officer reason to think that you had planned to drive after drinking or that you drove to where you currently are before turning off the vehicle. Either scenario could lead to DWI charges in Texas.

How could you safely get some rest after drinking too much?

When you believe that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit, choosing not to drive is the most responsible decision. However, that choice will lead to certain practical consequences, like the need to get somewhere for the night and then to come back for your vehicle later.

If you determine that sleeping in your vehicle is the best possible option, you can reduce your chances of getting arrested for that decision by being in the backseat and by leaving the car off at all times. If you find yourself facing DWI charges because police officers misunderstood your situation, you may be able to defend yourself.

Learning more about when the state can bring drunk driving charges against you can help you plan the best defense possible for your situation.