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Is "Sleeping It Off" a Good DUI Offense?


In the event of a DUI arrest and charge in Illinois, is it a good legal defense to sleep the intoxication off in your vehicle? Unfortunately, if you are drunk and asleep at the wheel of a non-moving car, you can be subject to a DUI conviction.

According to the Illinois Criminal Code, a person shall not drive or be in “actual physical control” of any vehicle within the state while under the influence of alcohol. A person does not need to drive to be in actual physical control of a vehicle, nor is the individual’s intent to put the car in motion relevant to the determination of actual physical control.

The following are the common factors which may result in a DUI conviction, despite trying to “sleep it off” to avoid a charge:

  • Possession of the ignition key
  • Physical capability to operate the vehicle
  • Sitting in the driver’s seat
  • Alone in the vehicle with the doors locked

If a person had no actual intention to drive away while drunk, the court does not care. The idea here is that it is easy for an individual to change their mind. A person asleep behind the wheel who has no actual intention to drive could do so anyways.

Furthermore, law enforcement often assumes that a person found asleep behind the wheel probably drove the vehicle to the location it was discovered. In most cases, it is too difficult to make this finding beyond a reasonable doubt, so the law does not require it.

If you were arrested and charged with a DUI in Illinois, despite not operating your vehicle while intoxicated, your next best move is to obtain experienced legal representation. The Law Office of Steven Fine has successfully represented people who weren’t actually driving on a DUI charges.

Contact Attorney Fine and schedule a free consultation today.