Can I Get an MI OWI for Sleeping in My Car?

In order to avoid an OWI charge, there are several alternatives as opposed to drunk driving. For instance, requesting a ride from an Uber driver or calling a sober friend to be your designated driver.

However, there are many people who do not realize how intoxicated they are until they get behind the wheel and attempt to drive. So what can you do when you recognize you are too intoxicated to drive?

Many people believe “sleeping it off” in your car would be an appropriate solution. How can you be accused of drunk driving if you’re clearly asleep?

The truth is that if you are asleep behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, it is possible to be arrested for an OWI. In Michigan, you can be charged with OWI if you have actual physical control of a car.

Actual physical control is the legal standard by which the prosecution must show operation in a drunk or drugged driving case. This means that in order to be charged with drunk driving, a prosecutor must demonstrate that you actually had the ability to control the car—regardless of whether the engine was running or not.

The prosecution can also use “circumstantial evidence” to show that you either had the ability to drive or were operating the motor vehicle at some point:

  1. You were sitting on the driver’s seat
  2. The keys were either in the ignition or in your hands
  3. The engine is on
  4. The tires are warm
  5. You are pulled over to the side of the road or highway

If you have been charged with an OWI for sleeping your car, it is critical to seek legal representation from a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Although the law is on the police officer’s side, it is not always easy to obtain a conviction in this type of case.

Some judges and juries can be reluctant to charge a person with drunk driving when they were not actually driving their vehicle. In other words, an experienced attorney might be able to help you either get your entire case dismissed or reduce your charges to a lesser offense.

For more information, contact our Okemos OWI attorney at White Law LLC and request a free consultation today.