Can a Person Who is Asleep in a Car in Maryland be Charged with DUI or DWI?

Help! I was just asleep in my car after a night of drinking and am now facing DUI/DWI charges!
Just because someone is asleep in a parked car does not mean they cannot be arrested for a DUI/DWI. In Maryland this happens more often than you might think. For instance, an officer comes across a parked vehicle and the motorist is found asleep at the wheel. The officer wakes up the driver, believes he may be intoxicated, conducts standard field sobriety tests and next thing you know, the motorist is looking at facing charges for a DUI/DWI. How can this be possible?! The motorist was sleeping, not driving!

If you or someone you know have found themselves in this situation, do not lose hope. Just because someone is facing DUI/DWI charges does not mean they are guilty of the offense or will be found guilty. In these types of scenarios, the prosecution still has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused motorist was in fact “driving,” which under Maryland law is defined as being under actual physical control of a vehicle. If the motorist was asleep at the time he or she came into contact with the police officer, there very well may be a defense that the accused was not driving at the time.

There are a number of factors that go into determining whether or not someone was in “actual physical control of the vehicle” or if that person was just using the vehicle as a temporary location to sleep. These factors include whether the engine was running, where the person was in the car, where the car was parked, etc. Also, there may be circumstantial evidence that can be inferred from the position of the car, how the car got to its location, or how the motorist got there that may be helpful to the defense.

Contact a Maryland DUI/DWI Attorney for Your Case
If you are facing traffic charges including DUI or DWI and don’t know what you should do, contact the Law Offices of Christopher L. Peretti at 301-875-3472. Consultations are always free. We will assess your traffic case in full, look at all potential defenses–for instance, if you weren’t actually “driving”–examine the police officer’s actions in your case, the field sobriety tests, and any breath/urine/blood tests that were conducted. After a complete assessment of the facts we can let you know what to expect as an outcome and go from there. As always, we will zealously fight for the best results possible, both in your traffic record as clear as possible and in keeping your driving privileges intact.

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