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
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:
- You were sitting on the driver’s seat
- The keys were either in the ignition or in your hands
- The engine is on
- The tires are warm
- 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.