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Sleeping in Your Car Could Lead to a DUI Arrest

May 13, 2020
By The Wiseman Law Firm

You Snooze, You Lose

Let’s say you went out with some friends one night and ended up having a few drinks. You figured you would spend a few hours at the bar to let the alcohol “wear off,” and ordered some food to soak it up. However, at the end of the night, you realize you are not in a position to safely and legally drive home (and let’s pretend you can’t use a ridesharing or Taxi service for whatever reason).

As such, you suppose that sleeping in your car for the night is the best alternative. You have good intentions there, but you’re still breaking the law: Sleeping in your car is illegal in Florida.

Sleeping in Your Car & DUI: What’s the Connection?

Besides the example above, there are several other reasons you might have had to sleep in your car. Maybe you worked a long shift and needed to rest up before hitting the road, or you felt sick and needed a rest. Whatever the scenario is, you could still be arrested for DUI, with or without alcohol in your system.


Let’s go over Florida’s DUI laws. It says that “Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above … law enforcement officers [can] lawfully detain and request a breath-alcohol test from any person, under the age of 21, who the officer has probable cause to believe is driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or having any alcohol level.”

“Actual physical control” could mean:

  • Your keys were in the passenger seat
  • Your keys were in your pocket
  • Your keys were on the backseat
  • You were sleeping in the driver’s seat
  • You were sleeping in the backseat
  • You were sleeping but turned your car on for the AC

Essentially, an officer may see you sleeping in your car in a large parking lot surrounded by retail stores, grocery stores, a post office and a local bar. The location of your parked car and the local bar, as well as the time you are found sleeping (let’s say 2 a.m.), could establish probable cause for an officer to suspect you are sleeping off the alcohol. You may be subject to a warrantless search and seizure, which is permitted under certain circumstances such as probable cause, as stated in the Fourth Amendment.

If an officer doesn’t discover physical proof of DUI but claims that your breath smelled like alcohol or you slurred your words, then you may be arrested for a DUI regardless. Thus, doing the “right thing” may work against you, which is why you can trust that our DUI lawyer is committed to championing your best interests by defending against your charge. We will work to prove that you were not under the influence and were unjustly accused of DUI.

The Wiseman Law Firm has proudly served Orlando for 15+ years and will handle your DUI case with the attention, skill and care it deserves. Schedule your free consultation with us online or by calling 407-420-4647. Se Habla Español!

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