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How to Sleep It Off in Your Car Without Getting a DUI

No one wants to get a DUI. But sometimes we don't realize how intoxicated we are until sitting down behind the wheel. If you have that moment of clarity, can you just pull over and try and sleep it off? Or can you get charged with DUI, even if you weren't driving at the time? Take Extra Precautions for the Best Chance at Avoiding a DUI Even though you tried to do the right thing and not drive, you may have to take a few extra steps to make sure you hopefully don't get arrested. For the best chance at avoiding a DUI, make it clear that you're actually sleeping, and not taking a driving break.For example, don't sleep in the driver's seat; instead, move to the back seats or at least the passenger seat. Also, don't have your keys on your person. If you place the keys in the trunk, you may be in a better position to convince a police officer that you had no intention of driving. Out of Luck in Some States Unfortunately, "drinking and parking" may simply be illegal. While state DUI laws can vary, most states allow for DUI convictions so long as you are "in control of the vehicle." So the "D" in DUI stands for either "Driving" or "could possibly Drive." Courts have upheld DUI convictions for drivers asleep at the wheel with the car running, asleep across the front seat with their head near the passenger door, and asleep in the front seat with their keys in their pocket. How Do Courts Determine If You Have Been Driving? Whether you can be charged with DUI for trying to sleep it off will depend on the DUI laws in your state, but most courts look at a set of factors when trying to determine if you've been driving your car: The location of your vehicle (whether you're on or off the road) Your location (where in your vehicle you're sleeping) The location of the keys in your vehicle (whether they're in or out of the ignition) The operability of your vehicle (whether your vehicle could be driven) Obviously, the best option is not to get behind the wheel after drinking in the first place. And while it's commendable that you've decided driving while drunk is a bad idea, you may want to take extra precautions (like calling a friend or a cab) to make sure your good intentions aren't met with a DUI conviction. If your effort to sleep it off didn't work, or you otherwise have been charged with a DUI, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney near you.Editor's Note: This article has been updated on 7/14/15 to clarify the precautions that should be taken to avoid a DUI. Related Resources: Browse DUI / DWI Lawyers by Location (FindLaw Directory) Sleeping Man in Elf Suit Arrested for DWI (FindLaw Blotter) Not All DUI Arrests Are Legal: 5 Notable Cases (FindLaw Blotter) State-by-State DUI Penalties (FindLaw)
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ASU Back-to-School Alcohol Crackdown Nets 392 Arrests

Police in Tempe, Arizona arrested 392 people as part of an alcohol-crime-focused task force last weekend, which not coincidentally kicked off the first weekend of the fall semester for Arizona State University. The "Safe and Sober" campaign, according to the Tempe Police Department, is a collaborative effort between 18 law-enforcement agencies and is scheduled to last until September 6. The Phoenix New Times reports that of the hundreds arrested, approximately one in three were arrested for DUI. What can we learn from this ASU alcohol crackdown? Some 'Arresting' Statistics While the number of arrests may lead one to believe that this program is something new and unexpected, this is actually the second year of the "Safe and Sober" enforcement campaign. Last year's inaugural instance of the program netted 309 DUI arrests and 1367 arrests in total, spanning three weekends at the beginning of ASU's Fall 2013 semester. This is far more than the 392 total arrested thus far in this year's "Safe and Sober" campaign, but we remind readers that the 2014 run still has two weekends to go. The New Times reported that comparing this past weekend with that same weekend in 2013, there were actually 21 more arrests in 2014. It's unclear that this suggests that alcohol-related arrests are increasing, and more may become clear once the campaign is concluded. Arizona's Governor's Office of Highway Safety actually reported fewer DUIs in 2013 than in 2012, suggesting that drivers may be wising up. Know someone who has been arrested or charged with a drunken driving offense? Get in touch with a knowledgeable DUI attorney in your area today. Whatever the trend, the arrests last weekend included: 146 DUI arrests, 112 arrests for minors consuming alcohol, 35 arrests for minors possessing alcohol, and 99 arrests for "other offenses." Hopefully any increase in alcohol-related arrests also corresponds to increased safety for Arizona's drivers and minors. Back-to-College Booze Tips Since ASU's students seem largely clueless to the legal ramification of underage drinking and DUI, despite a combined 18 law-enforcement agencies watching them like hawks, here are some easy-to-remember back-to-college alcohol tips: Even if your campus has a lax alcohol policy, know that it is illegal for minors to consume alcohol (unless it's with their parents); States like Arizona have extreme and aggravated DUI penalties for drunken driving offenses with minors in the vehicle; and Most college campuses have free shuttles or "safe ride" services, so use them. Try to start this semester without having to call a DUI lawyer. Related Resources: Tempe apartment residents throw beer bottles at police (The Arizona Republic) MIP: 3 Things to do After a Minor in Possession (FindLaw's Blotter (FindLaw's Blotter) 5 Ways Hazing Can Get You Arrested (FindLaw's Blotter) 5 Things a DUI Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can't) (FindLaw's Blotter)
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3 Ways a Misdemeanor DUI Can Become a Felony

The lowest level of DUI is a misdemeanor, and most first-time DUIs are charged that way. However, there are certain circumstances that can turn a misdemeanor DUI into a felony. Whether you get charged with a misdemeanor or felony can greatly affect your punishment. Felonies are considered much more serious crimes and can result in more than a year in prison and hefty fines. On the other hand, misdemeanors usually result in less than a year in jail and potentially lesser fines. Drunken-driving laws vary by state, but in general, here are three ways that a misdemeanor DUI can become a felony: The DUI causes injury or death. In some states, a DUI or DWI charge becomes a felony if the intoxicated driver causes bodily harm or death to another person. For example, under California law, prosecutors can elevate a misdemeanor DUI to a felony if the intoxicated driver kills someone in a crash (otherwise known as vehicular manslaughter). Driver's license issues. Another way a misdemeanor DUI can become a felony is if it occurs while the driver has a suspended, restricted, or revoked license. For example, in Illinois, committing a drunken-driving offense when you already have your license suspended for whatever reason can become a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. Prior DUI/DWI convictions. Habitual drunken-driving offenders can also face felony charges if they're caught drinking and driving again, within a certain time frame. For example, in New York, first-time offenders can face up to one year in jail for a misdemeanor DWI. However, if you get a second DWI conviction within 10 years, you can be charged with a felony DWI and incarcerated for up to four years in prison if convicted. Depending on your state's laws, there could be other ways in which your misdemeanor DUI becomes a felony. And there are other factors -- like whether you were convicted of DUI as a juvenile or whether your DUI conviction was expunged -- that can also affect the outcome of your case. That's why, if you're facing a drunken-driving charge, it's best to consult an experienced DUI attorney in your area as soon as possible. Related Resources: Lawmakers face long odds in expanding felony DUI definition (The Seattle Times) DUI Habitual Offenders: What Are the Consequences? (FindLaw's Blotter) What Is a DUI Causing Injury in Arizona? (FindLaw's Phoenix DUI Blog) At DUI Checkpoints, Are Drug Swabs Legal? (FindLaw's Blotter)
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