Are you wondering if you could be charged with a DUI in South Carolina if you’re asleep in your car and need to find the best DUI lawyer near me? You’re not alone.
In 2020, there were reports about an SC National Guard official charged with DUI after being found unconscious in his car. So naturally, this confused most people who might have considered sleeping it off in their car when drunk.
The legal answer to this crucial question is yes. You don’t have to be driving to get charged with DUI. But why is this so?
This article will explain why you could get charged with DUI if you’re asleep in your car and why you need a DUI lawyer in such a case.
Why You Can Get a DUI in South Carolina for Sleeping in Your Car
Most drivers believe they can’t be arrested and charged with a DUI if they are found sleeping in the car. However, that’s not the case. Simply being in your vehicle while drunk is enough for the police to charge you with a DUI offense. However, a DUI lawyer can help you create the proper defense based on the specific details of what occurred.
Another factor determining if you could get a DUI in South Carolina is the elements of your case. Elements are the factors that must be present for individuals to be convicted of a crime. So, in cases where the officers found you asleep in your car while intoxicated, but there’s no evidence the vehicle was operated or moved, the officer can’t arrest or charge you with DUI.
Reasons for DUI in South Carolina When Found Asleep in Your Car
There are varying reasons why a police officer could decide to charge you for driving under the influence when they find you asleep in the car. Below are some of them.
Asleep in the Driver’s Seat
Most people believe they can sleep off the alcohol in their system in their car. Although you have the right intentions, you chose the wrong place to carry it out. Selecting the driver’s seat could get you a DUI in South Carolina because it is reasonable for the officer to assume you are behind the wheels with intentions of driving.
There’s no way for the officer to determine if you fell asleep while trying to start the car or if you’re trying to sleep it off. This is because a passerby would likely call the police to make a report. If the police and the prosecution cannot establish intent, the best DUI lawyer near me may be able to get you off the charge.
The Car Location
Another critical reason you could be charged with a DUI in South Carolina if you’re found sleeping in your car is the location. If you parked your vehicle in your driveway when you fell asleep, it’s easy to escape responsibility. However, if the officer found your car parked in the middle of the road or on a sidewalk and you were asleep, then you won’t get sympathy from the jury.
The location of your vehicle also informs the jury whether you were driving before you fell asleep. It also indicates how much of a risk you pose to the public in your state.
Car Keys Found in the Ignition
Another critical reason you could get charged with DUI if you’re asleep in your car is the location of your car keys. If you place your car keys in the ignition while sleeping, it could mean you wanted to start your vehicle but fell asleep. It shows the jury you had every intention of driving when you got into the car.
However, in most cases, your DUI lawyer could get the charges dropped based on police report technicalities. You could also get your case dismissed by challenging the officer’s bias of DUI and inability to prove you had the intention of operating your vehicle.
Car Engine is Running
What if you started the car and decided to sleep it off instead? Maybe after starting the vehicle, you rethought your decision and chose to take a nap and sober up before driving off. Even if you moved out of the driver’s seat and moved to the backseat to show you weren’t going anywhere, it could still count against you.
The officer could reasonably assume you had driving plans if the engine was left running and your lights turned on. This is because you’re only a step away from putting your vehicle into gear and driving off while intoxicated. In such a situation, other factors like the location could come into play to convince the jury you had plans to drive off while intoxicated.
Why You Need a DUI Lawyer Near Me
If you got charged with a DUI offense for sleeping in your car intoxicated, you’re probably considering your available options to avoid punishment. Your best option is to seek out the best DUI lawyer near me. If you’re unsure why you need to hire a DUI lawyer, below are some reasons.
They Help You Understand the Complexities of the Law
DUI laws can be very complex, but not for a DUI lawyer. They have experience navigating the legal proceeding and will create the best defense for your case. Beyond their knowledge, years of practice have helped them master the laws related to DUI cases.
They Have Experience in the Courtroom
Even if you didn’t drive your vehicle or injure someone, your case could still end up in court. In such a case, you’ll need a lawyer to help in the courtroom. You’re entitled to fair representation, and seeking out an experienced attorney increases your chances of a favorable outcome.
Keep Your License
Your license is immediately restricted until further notice when you get arrested for a DUI in South Carolina. This would prevent you from driving for an extended period while going through court proceedings. However, an attorney can help you reduce your charges to keep your license.
Without an attorney, you risk losing your driving license for a year or more. This could significantly affect your work, home, and social life. Therefore, getting an experienced DUI lawyer is the best option for you.
Stop Searching for a DUI Lawyer Near Me By Hiring Us
Even if the charges of DUI while sleeping in the car seem frivolous to you, it’s always ideal to hire an experienced DUI lawyer. There are convictions for such cases, which are more common than you think. This is because prosecutors usually rely on circumstantial evidence suggesting the defendant might have driven while intoxicated before sleeping.
Luckily, the Charleston, SC, criminal defense lawyers at Charleston DUI Guy have successfully represented many clients facing a DUI charge in various situations over the years. So, if you’re charged with a DUI, we can help. Book a free consultation with us today.