When a person is too intoxicated to drive, one of the most common alternatives to driving is sleeping in the car. However, can you still get a DUI in Nevada for doing so? The answer depends on a number of factors.
In Nevada, you can be convicted of a DUI for sleeping in your car if the following two conditions are true:
- You are impaired by alcohol or drugs, or your blood contains more than the legal limit of alcohol or drugs.
- You are “in actual physical control” of the motor vehicle.
So how can a sleeping person be “in control” of a parked vehicle? According to state law, having your keys in the ignition qualifies as being in control of the vehicle—even if the engine is off. Additional circumstances that make it more likely for law enforcement to arrest a sleeping individual for DUI include the person is sleeping in the driver’s seat, the car lights being on, or the car is on a public road such as the side of a highway.
By contrast, a person is not considered under the influence in Nevada for the purpose of a sleeping DUI if all of the following are true:
- The person is asleep inside the vehicle.
- The person is not sitting in the driver’s seat.
- The keys are not in the ignition and the engine is off.
- The car is lawfully parked.
- It is evident that the individual could not have driven the vehicle to the location while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The penalties for a DUI while sleeping in Nevada are the same as a regular DUI. A first-time offense is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months, a fine of up to $1,000, driver’s license suspension for three months, DUI school, and Victim Impact Panel class attendance.
At Turco & Draskovich, we advise you to not tempt fate and avoid sleeping your vehicle if you are too drunk to drive. Instead, request a ride from a ridesharing app, such as Uber or Lyft, or contact a designated driver to pick you up.