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Can You Be Charged With DUI For Sleeping It Off In Your Car?

In an incident that garnered national attention in December, former Arizona Cardinal Michael Floyd was found sleeping behind the wheel of his car at an intersection in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was charged with two counts of driving under the influence (DUI).

The key for Floyd’s DUI charges likely sticking are found in the article below as we explore the legal qualifiers to being charged with DUI if you’re found sleeping drunk in your vehicle.

What Arizona Law Says

Arizona law about the subject was established during a 1983 case before the Supreme Court of Arizona. The case revolved around a motorist found by police officers asleep in his parked car in the emergency lane off Interstate 10. He had vomit on his shirt, smelled of alcohol and his key was in the ignition. The motor, however, was off.

Even though the man was charged with DUI, he fought the charges and his case eventually went to the state court. There, the court wrote:

“…it is reasonable to allow a driver, when he believes his driving is impaired, to pull completely off the highway, turn the key off and sleep until he is sober, without the fear of being arrested for being in control.”

Steps You Must Take To Avoid DUI Charges While You Sleep it Off In Your Car

Arizona’s Supreme Court later outlined things a driver must do to avoid DUI charges when car sleep is needed.

  1. Move the vehicle away from the road pavement and outside of regular traffic lanes
  2. Turn off the vehicle’s motor

Going back to Michael Floyd’s case, his problem was that he was found at an intersection and on the road.

Do These Things Also to Avoid DUI Charges:

    • Do not drive if you’re drunk or feel that you shouldn’t drive
    • If the car is in a safe location, do not put the key in the ignition
    • Do not move your vehicle if it’s not in a safe place; instead, walk away and find someone sober who can move the vehicle to a safe place
    • Get in the back seat or in the passenger’s seat

Call Alex Lane in Phoenix If You’re Facing DUI Charges

If you’re facing DUI charges, having legal representation gives you the best opportunity for having the charges reduced or keeping them off the books altogether.

For a free consultation, call Alex Lane at (480) 776-5757.


If you have been charged with a DUI, drug charge, sex crime or any serious criminal offense, let an experienced defense team fight for you. Schedule a consultation with one of our partners today. Call (480) 562-3482 or send an email.