Colorado law prevents anyone with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08% from operating a motor vehicle. As such, if you choose to drive after you have consumed too much booze, you risk charges for driving under the influence. You may not realize, though, sleeping in your car may also lead to a DUI arrest.
The state’s DUI laws contemplate actual physical control of a vehicle. Therefore, if an officer has evidence that you are in control of the vehicle, he or she may arrest you for suspected drunk driving. To avoid the many legal consequences that come from a DUI arrest and conviction, you should understand the meaning of actual physical control.
A facts and circumstances test
Clearly, driving with a BAC over the state’s legal limit is against the law. You do not have to be moving, however. When deciding if you have actual physical control over your vehicle, officers are apt to consider the circumstances. Here are some facts that may lead to a DUI arrest:
- Your car key is in the ignition.
- You are sitting in the driver’s seat.
- Your car is in a public roadway or on the shoulder of one.
- Your car’s engine is running.
- Your car’s engine is warm.
The Colorado experience
Colorado is a paradise for those who love to be outdoors. As such, you may regularly sleep in your vehicle when exploring everything the state has to offer. While there is nothing inherently wrong with using your car, truck or SUV as a tent, you must be careful about where you sleep after drinking alcohol. If you have enjoyed your favorite microbrew or a few swigs of Colorado whiskey, be certain you do not have actual physical control of your vehicle.
No one wants to face DUI charges. While never driving after consuming alcohol is an effective strategy, you must also understand other ways that you may find yourself in legal trouble. Fortunately, there are likely a few ways to defend yourself against a DUI charge that stems from an actual physical control arrest.