While sleeping in your car instead of driving home after having a few drinks may seem like a responsible choice, the state of New Jersey views this choice differently.
Here are three ways you can still get a DWI for “sleeping it off” in your car in New Jersey.
1. Sleeping in the driver’s seat
Even if you have no intention of driving your vehicle, sleeping in the driver’s seat can give law enforcement officers reason to believe that you have been operating the car or plan to and may land you a DWI charge. If sleeping in your car is the only safe option available at the time, be sure to sleep somewhere else in the vehicle, preferably in the backseat.
2. Having car keys near you or in the ignition
If your keys are within reach or in the ignition, authorities can conclude that you are in control of the vehicle, which could lead to a DWI charge. Moving your keys to the trunk may help prove you have no intention to drive.
3. Driving and then pulling over to sleep
Pulling over to sleep after realizing you cannot safely drive is commendable, but it might also earn you a DWI. There are a few pieces of evidence authorities can use to prove you were operating a vehicle, like tire tracks, a warm engine or eyewitnesses. Getting a ride home with a sober friend or a rideshare service is a safer option.
If sleeping in your car after drinking is the only safe option, there are ways to diminish your chances of a DWI charge. However, the easiest way to avoid a DWI is to get a ride home with a responsible driver.