Sleeping Under the Influence — Can You Get A DUI While Sleeping It Off In The Car?

Posted by Steve Eversole | Aug 30, 2007 | 0 Comments

Imagine, if you will, this scenario: You get a big promotion at work and the fellas take you out to celebrate one Friday evening.  Long story short, you get tanked on the revelry….and the beer.  Instead of getting in your car and attempting a dangerous ride home, you decide to pass out in the car to be safe, parked safely in the parking lot across the street from the bar.  Next thing you know, a blue clad bobby is banging on your window and shining his light into your blood shot eyes.  Slip, boom, bam, your headed "downtown," to the station for a DUI.  But wait, you complain, how can I get a DUI when I wasn't even driving a car?  It's called, "driving" under the influence for a reason, right? 

Unfortunately, this injustice has occurred far too many times.  Yes, you can be convicted for a DUI in Alabama without ever driving your car.   A person may be convicted of a DUI in Alabama who is in actual physical control of his vehicle, but not yet driving; even where he is asleep in his parked vehicle.  Does this sentence actually make sense to anyone?  And yes,  this language comes directly from the case. How can you be in actual physical control of your vehicle if you are passed out asleep?  I thought the idea was to keep people from drinking and driving.  This law looks like the kind that has the opposite effect of its intentions.  

I could tell you want more absurdity.  Well here goes.  You can even be convicted of a DUI in Alabama even if the car doesn't work.  I am not joking, even though it sounds like a bad joke, or a nightmare depending on your point of view.  The Court in Mester v. State, 755 So. 2d 66 (Ala. Crim. App. 1999), ruled that a defendant was in "actual physical control" of his automobile even though the car was inoperable.   

I hope readers are starting to see why I believe so much in being a criminal defense attorney.  This kind of thing is anti-American.  Where does it say in the Constitution that you can't get snot slinging drunk if you want, and sleep in your car?  Criminal Defense Attorneys are truly, "liberties last champions." I salute you all. 

About the Author

Steve Eversole

Admitted to practice in All State and Federal Courts in Alabama: AllAlabama State Courts, Alabama Supreme Court, Alabama Court of Appeals,Northern...


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