man sleeping in front seat of car with head on steering wheel

What is Non-Driving DUI?

Did you know that you can be charged with DUI even when you aren’t driving your vehicle? This is referred to as non-driving DUI. Before you choose to sleep in your car after a night of drinking, make sure you know what to do to keep yourself safe from unexpected criminal charges.

DUI While Not Driving

Instead of getting behind the wheel while under the influence, waiting until you are sober is clearly the safer option. If you live in a small town or suburban area where Ubers and Lyfts aren’t common, the next best option may be to sleep in your car and drive home once you are sober. However, if police find you sleeping in your car, they may become suspicious that you were recently driving.

Police will try to prove this based on different circumstances at the time they discover you in your vehicle.

Location of Your Car Keys

One of the first things police will look for is the location of your keys. If the keys are in the car’s ignition, your hand, or close to you, this may serve as evidence that the police can use to prove that you were recently driving.

Where You Are in The Car

If you are planning to sleep in your vehicle, make sure that you go to the backseat. If you are in the front seat reclined or slumped over the steering wheel, police can assume that you recently drove or had the intention of driving while still under the influence. You do not want to be in the driver’s seat where it can be inferred that you operated the vehicle.

Warmth Coming From The Car

The officer may feel for warm parts of your vehicle. After a car has been running, heat tends to build up:

  • In the engine
  • On the hood
  • In the tires
  • Inside the vehicle

If any of these areas are warm, police will determine that you recently drove or operated the vehicle.

Tips to Avoid Non-Driving DUI Charges

You should not be punished for making the responsible choice to sleep in your car rather than drive home under the influence.
Protect yourself from criminal charges and:

  • Sleep in the backseat
  • Don’t run the vehicle
  • Park legally
  • Keep the keys far away from you (trunk, glove box, etc).

Taking these precautions will help prevent police from being able to make a case that you were driving or had the intent to drive.

Sheboygan DUI Defense

A non-driving DUI can result in the same penalties as a standard DUI. Our team at Melowski & Singh, LLC is ready to defend you against these charges. We have a track record of success unlike any other Wisconsin defense firm. You can trust us with your case; contact us to get started.