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Sleeping it Off In Your Car Can Lead to DUI and Drug Charges

Sleeping it Off In Your Car Can Lead to DUI and Drug Charges

Happy 4th of July! Here’s a tip for those celebrating with alcohol: If the police find you sleeping it off in your car, you will be charged with DUI! Many people believe that in order to be charged with Driving Under the Influence, you must be in the driver’s seat with the car in motion on a public road. This is far from true! The police can charge you with Driving While Intoxicated based on presumptive operation, either you were going to drive the car while intoxicated or you drove the car to the place they found you then decided to stop and sleep it off. Presumptive operation can be based on a vehicle being parked across multiple spaces as if the driver was impaired, being the only one in the vehicle with no other possible driver, approaching your car with keys on your person, starting the car to stay warm in the winter and a host of other surprising reasons. As an example, on July 3rd, 2013 a fifty-three year old Bayonne resident was found sleeping behind the wheel of his automobile in a Quick Check paring lot. When asked by the police officer to step out of the car the man dropped a small package of an unknown substance, which was later found to be heroin. The man was charged with both possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) in a Motor Vehicle, as well as DUI. Under New Jersey law the definition of operating a vehicle is extremely broad to include more than simply driving that automobile, as many residents think. Dating back almost fifty years the courts have made monumental decisions in the matters of sleeping intoxicated drivers behind the wheel of a car, such as State v. Baumgartner, 21 N.J. Super. 348 (App. Div. 1952). That case made it clear that when an operator of a vehicle is found sleeping behind the wheel there are a number of situations that can result in a DUI charge of the driver. As in Baumgatrner, this Bayonne man was charged with a DUI due to the fact that he was found in a parking lot, one in which he stated was not in earlier. The man had a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit and it was then deduced, not observed, that the man had driven to that location under the influence of alcohol. DUI/DWI in NJ will have a serious impact on your life and can have significant implications in related matters such as later personal injury or vehicular manslaughter charges. If you are charged with DUI in NJ you should seek an experienced attorney immediately to protect your rights. For more information on driving under the influence, reckless driving or other serious municipal court/traffic matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter. Be safe this 4th of July and if you drink, don’t drive! DUI, DWI, Driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, drug charges, CDS, CDS in a motor vehicle, Controlled dangerous substance, alcotest, BAC, blood alcohol content

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