Sleeping DUI / DWI Explained – Attorney Ross Goodman

You Can Be Found Guilty of DUI Even if Not Driving

Many People ask “Why they are facing a DUI charge when they were just sleeping inside their vehicle?”
The good news is that, like any other criminal case, we have been successful in defending sleeping DUI cases, especially where the prosecution lacks evidence to show actual physical control (“APC”) of the vehicle.

What is Actual Physical Control (“APC”)

  • Under NRS 484C.110(1)(c), it is important to know that a person can be found guilty of a DUI even if you are not “driving” the vehicle but found to be in “actual physical control” of the vehicle.
  • You are considered to be in “Actual Physical Control” of a vehicle if the prosecutor can show “existing or present bodily restraint, directing influence, domination, or regulation of the vehicle”, which basically means, the ability to presently drive away.
  • The “passed-out” driver at the intersection or at a stop light generally cannot show that they were not in “existing or present bodily restraint, directing influence, domination, or regulation of the vehicle.

This determination depends on many factors such as:

1. Where, and in what position, the person is found in the vehicle;
2. Whether the vehicle’s engine is running;
3. Whether the occupant is awake or asleep;
4. If at night, whether, the vehicle’s lights are on;
5. The location of the vehicle’s keys;
6. Whether the person was trying to move the vehicle or moved the vehicle;
7. Whether the property on which the vehicle is located is public or private; and
8. Whether the person must, of necessity, have driven to the location where apprehended.

Many Times the Absence of APC Factors Is Your Best Defense to Winning a DUI

  • This best APC defense occurs when you can show that the person was not found in the vehicle at all but rather standing outside of a car i.e., receiving treatment by paramedics and where there are no other witnesses of you driving the car.
  • It also helps show the lack of APC if the engine is not running and the keys are not in the ignition. While there may be a strong inference that you were the driving the car because it is registered to you and there’s no other reasonable explanation why you are in close proximity of the car, the lack of any witness or other corroborating evidence weighs in favor of a viable APC defense.
  • Another common APC defense is when the car is parked on a private and there is there is no other evidence that you had attempted to move the car at all i.e., this allows the inference that you had driven there much earlier in the day before you began drinking.
  • The key fact pattern where the Supreme Court of Nevada found a person to not be APC of the vehicle occurred when the person left a bar under the influence but fell asleep in the back seat without starting or driving the vehicle.

Penalties of Sleeping DUI

A “Sleeping” DUI carries the same penalties as any other DUI and carries enhanced penalties for subsequent offenses or if it qualifies as a felony DUI.

First time Sleeping DUI

  • A minimum of 2 days in jailf up to 6 months
  • A minimum fine of $685.00, completing the DUI course, Victim Impact Panel (“VIP”) and possible increased penalties such as Coroner’s Course and submitting for an Alcohol Assessment and possible ignition interlock device installation depending on the BAC level.
  • 3 month license suspension by the DMV

For more information regarding the penalties, please visit the DUI page.

Charged with Sleeping DUI? Seek Help from a Las Vegas DUI Lawyer.

DUI Lawyer Ross Goodman focuses in DUI defense and has negotiated 100s of DUI cases to Reckless Driving Charges. (You may view his Proven Track Record of Results). Contact his office at (702) 383 – 5088 for a free consultation.

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