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Sleeping Under the Influence- Fresno DUI Attorney

By Fresno DUI Lawyer Subscribe to RSS | January 10th 2012 | Views:

I have received several e-mails asking if it is possible to receive a DUI if your vehicle was parked and the keys were not in the ignition. A simple answer is YES. In many states, as well as California, you may be arrested for sleeping in your parked car. All the police have to do is prove that you are intoxicated. It is a dead giveaway when the person is passed out in their car. Police can see this a mile away. However, the police do have to prove that you were intoxicated at the time that you were driving. This can be difficult if the police do not know when you pulled over.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving are also pushing to have laws passed which state that if you are sleeping in your vehicle, you should be arrested to ensure that you do not drive in the future. What is scary about this proposal is that the police would be punishing those that do not drive, they simply get back to their car and sleep there. Instead, this may send the message that people should just take their chances. If you are punished the same for sleeping or for driving, why not try to make it back to your house? It appears that the proposal is more concerned with punishment rather than deterrence.

In a particular DUI case where the defendant is caught sleeping in their vehicle, there are 2 issues that a Fresno County DUI defense attorney can argue to have the case disposed of in a favorable manner. The prosecutor has to prove driving and has a public policy argument to face.

First, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant engaged in the act of driving. The definition of “driving” varies from state to state but most agree that there must be some type of operation or physical control over the vehicle. The police will typically ask you to submit to an alcohol screening at the time that they find you as well as at the time they bring you into the station. When the police have both test results they will look at where your blood alcohol level was on both tests and look to see if the level is rising or falling. When they have both of these results, they can use math to attempt to prove that you were driving under the influence. It is important to note that the first test, called the preliminary alcohol screening, is not a mandatory test in Fresno County or California. You have the right to request that the police do only a breath or blood test and not the PAS test.

Second, prosecutors have a tough jury trial when we look at public policy behind issuing a DUI when someone was trying to sleep it off in their car. A Fresno County DUI lawyer can argue that we shouldn’t discourage a conduct that decreases the danger to the public. More specifically, why should someone be punished for attempting to do the right thing. Due to the lobbying by MADD and the Court’s interpretation of the vehicle code, most states have stretched the definition of “driving” beyond recognition.

In these types of DUI arrests, the police will often ask you more questions than a routine stop. This is because they want you to make admissions. They want you to admit that you were driving. They will attempt to build a timeline to establish exactly when you were driving, when you were drinking, when you pulled over, and when the police arrived. They will not tell you this is what they are doing and you can simply tell them that you want to remain silent and do not wish to answer any questions because you do not want to make any admissions. They may arrest you at this point but you will have a much better defense if you do not say anything to the police when you are being investigated for a DUI.

Fresno DUI Lawyer - About Author:
Fresno DUI lawyer Bob Mortland is a solo practitioner attorney in the Fresno-Visalia Area. Mr. Mortland takes cases that are personal injury, debt settlement, criminal defense, expungements, and traffic ticket defense. Mr. Mortland is a Tulare DUI Lawyer, Visalia DUI Lawyer, Madera DUI Lawyer, Merced DUI Lawyer, Porterville DUI Lawyer, Turlock DUI. Visit or today for fun and exciting articles related to Mr. Mortland's practice area. Or check out the blog

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