Can you face a DWI charge for sleeping in the car?
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Can you face a DWI charge for sleeping in the car?

| Oct 15, 2021 | DWI

People take to the road for many reasons in Texas. Driving may be critical to their ability to make a living. It may also be the only way to pick up the kids from school or visit loved ones at their homes. 

Consequently, a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction can have devastating consequences. Often, people will use their cars to get to the bar, with the intention of either not drinking at all or taking a cab home when the night is over. There may be occasions where sleeping it off in the car seems like a viable option. But is this really a good idea? 

What does the law in Texas say? 

Texas law states that you can be charged with DWI if you have operated a vehicle while intoxicated in public. Operating is a broad term that can be understood in different ways. As a result, even an attempt to drive, backed up by circumstantial evidence, could be enough to land you in legal trouble. 

Sleeping in the car could amount to circumstantial evidence 

Any circumstantial evidence that indicates you drove while under the influence could result in criminal charges. For example, if the keys were in the ignition, this could lead prosecutors, a jury or a judge to believe that you had driven while intoxicated. Additionally, if the car was running, even in a stationary position, this could provide the impression that you drove to the spot while intoxicated. Even the fact that you were found sleeping in the driver’s seat of the vehicle could be enough for prosecutors to bring DWI charges. 

Understanding the law as it relates to DWI offenses in Texas could be in your best interests. If you are facing criminal charges, this is a serious matter, and it is important to remember that you have legal rights