Can I Be Charged With DUI for Sleeping in My Car in Illinois?

St. Charles DUI defense attorney

Imagine the following scenario: you decide to have a few drinks at a local bar after work. However, you lose track of time and end up consuming a significant amount of alcohol and staying at the bar much longer than you intended. It is now nighttime, and you are too intoxicated to drive. In a situation like this, you may decide to avoid drunk driving by sleeping in your vehicle and driving home once you have sobered up. However, according to Illinois law, you may be charged with a DUI even if you were not actually driving.

Illinois DUI Law

Section 11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code states that it is a criminal offense for a person to drive or be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle when:

  • The person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more

  • The person is under the influence of alcohol, an intoxicating compound, or a drug to a degree that makes him or her unable to drive safely

  • There is any amount of a controlled substance in the person’s body

  • The person has a THC concentration above the legal limit within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle

The phrase “actual physical control” can be hard to define. It is typically described as the ability of a person to start the vehicle and put it into motion. In past cases, courts have ruled that an individual can be regarded as having actual physical control of a car even if the keys are not in the ignition, and the car is not running. This means that it is possible for a person to be charged with DUI if he or she is intoxicated and sleeping in his or her vehicle. In 2014, the Fourth District Court of Appeals found that a man who had passed out in the front seat of his parked car was indeed in actual physical control of the vehicle, even though the car was turned off and the driver’s side door was open.

Contact a St. Charles DUI Defense Lawyer

Drunk driving is taken seriously in the state of Illinois. Being convicted of a first-time DUI can result in a one-year driver’s license revocation, heavy fines, and incarceration for up to one year. The penalties are much harsher if you have previously been convicted of driving under the influence. If you have been charged with DUI, you need an experienced attorney on your side, regardless of the circumstances that led to your arrest. Call the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa today at 630-232-1780 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a seasoned Illinois criminal defense attorney.