Man sleeping in his car

Why You Shouldn’t Sleep in Your Car when Drunk

People use their cars as makeshift beds all the time, but sleeping in a car while drunk isn’t a good idea. You may be surprised to learn that sleeping in your car while intoxicated could result in operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges for the accused. Let’s look at the law to find out why.

Michigan Criminal Charges & OWI

While many people think of drinking and driving as actually driving a vehicle, that’s not how the law is interpreted. There is something called actual physical control, a situation where someone has the ability to control a motor vehicle. In Michigan, having the ability to control a motor vehicle is enough to trigger an OWI.

This is due to how Michigan interprets the word “operating.” Operating is loosely defined in Michigan law, whereas drinking and driving is more direct. Operating means “having the ability to drive” and depending on the officer, sleeping in the driver’s seat with an excessive blood alcohol content may constitute operating a motor vehicle.

All this to say, it’s never a good idea to sleep in your car while you're intoxicated. If you absolutely have no choice, it may be prudent to sleep in the backseat of the car instead, and put the keys somewhere where you can’t reach.

Have You Been Accused of OWI?

If you or a loved one have been accused of an OWI, you have the right to hire experienced criminal defense for your case. White Law PLLC is here to protect your rights regardless of the circumstances of your case.

Call (517) 316-1195 now for a free consultation for your case.