Can Sleeping Drunk In My Car in Texas Result in a DWI?

woman sleeping in car

Getting a DWI is a serious charge that can leave a permanent stain on your record while altering your relationships as your loved ones will surely be disappointed by your poor judgment. That is, until they find out you weren’t actually driving your car when you were charged with a DWI. In fact, you did the responsible thing and chose to sleep instead of drive. In most states, including Texas, you can be charged with a DWI for simply sleeping in your car while intoxicated. If you’re facing this charge, keep reading to learn more and discover how Houston DWI defense attorneys can help.

How Can I Get a DWI if I Was Sleeping?

Though it seemingly doesn’t make sense to be charged with a DWI if the car was in park and you were asleep, the statute outlining the circumstances is vague. This means it is open to interpretation by the police officer, prosecutor, and judge.

The law states that you need to be operating a vehicle to be charged with a DWI in Texas. If your foot is not on the break and your car is not in drive, you technically aren’t driving. However, the police will look for anything that could potentially demonstrate that you did drive the car.

For example, if you turned on the air conditioning to stay cool while you slept, a police officer may classify the fact that the engine was warm as an example that you had driven.

Is There Any Way to Avoid Getting a DWI?

If you want to avoid getting a criminal charge for doing the responsible thing, taking the proper precautions can help your case.

First things first – do not move your vehicle to a secondary location. If you’re intoxicated and leave the bar parking lot to sleep in a more secluded spot, that is enough cause to prove that you committed a DWI. Instead, stay where you are.

You should also keep the car off and avoid putting the keys in the ignition. If possible, put the keys in a different location, like in your trunk or outside the vehicle, to prove there was no intent to drive.

When choosing a place to sleep, avoid sitting in the front seat, as this can indicate that you had driven or were planning on driving. You should also never sleep with a seatbelt buckled, as that can imply that you had driven.

However, you should always try to find a ride home, whether you call a friend or car service to pick you up. This is a guaranteed way to avoid a DWI charge.

What Should I Do if I Get Charged?

If charged with a DWI despite taking all the precautions possible to act responsibly, you may feel like there’s nothing you can do. However, enlisting the help of a seasoned attorney is crucial. You only have 15 days from the date of the arrest to request a hearing, so there’s no time to wait.

Call The Gonzalez Law Group today to discuss the details of your case with a professional DWI lawyer. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.