You may think sleeping in your car after drinking is a smart idea to avoid getting a DUI. In many ways, this option is better if you think you might be too drunk to drive. However, your chances of getting a DUI are still high. If you move your car to a parking space to have a nap, that is still driving. As a result, you could face a DUI for this.
If you do not move your car at all and are sleeping in the front or back seat, you could raise suspicion of an officer and he could do a full DUI check, even if the keys are not in the ignition. In Arizona, there is a presumption that even if you are not driving, you have the ability to set the car in motion.
Police have arrested many people in Arizona who were even outside of their vehicle. These arrests rely on the definition of “actual physical control.” If the government can prove as part of your case that you did drive to a location while under the influence, they can prosecute you for a DUI.
So what should you do if you feel you are too drunk to drive? If your car is not in a safe location do not move it. Have a sober friend help you move it, give you a ride or call a cab. If it is in a safe location and you feel you have no other option than to sleep inside your car, do not put the key in the ignition. Get in the backseat if your car has one, or the passenger seat if it does not If you absolutely must start the car to use the heat or air conditioner, then prepare for the police to question you as they may think you drove it there.
If the police happen to arrive at the location, you should invoke your rights to remain silent as any explanation you provide could contribute to a bigger DUI charge. If law enforcement takes you into custody, you should call an experienced DUI lawyer as they will know how to challenge the arrest and navigate the situation to your benefit.