In British Columbia, you can be charged with a DUI for sleeping in your car.
However, DUI charges are not as straight-forward or as simple as they may initially sound; you can be criminally charged for sleeping in your car while intoxicated; you can also be charged with a DUI if you are awake in your car while intoxicated. So you can’t really sober up in your car, even if you’re awake.
The exact laws can vary slightly among provinces and territories, but generally in BC, if you are found to be in care and control of a motor vehicle while impaired, you can face legal consequences.
“Care and control” refers to being in a situation where you have the ability to set the vehicle in motion, regardless of whether you are actually driving it at that moment. Sleeping in a car while intoxicated can be considered care and control if the circumstances indicate that you had the intention or potential to drive while impaired.
Police officers have the discretion to assess the situation and determine if you are in care and control of the vehicle. Factors they may consider include your location, whether the engine is running, if the keys are accessible, and your level of impairment. If they believe you pose a risk to yourself or others, they can proceed with a DUI charge for sleeping in your car.
Because of this, it is most advisable to not sleep in your car. Preferably, get a ride home, or book a room if you are able to do so.
Please know that this information is general, and specific laws and regulations can vary across Canada. Furthermore, as much of this is up to police discretion, the enforcement of these laws will vary from town to town.
If you received a DUI in BC, get in touch with the DUI lawyers here at Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group. We can help you fight your charges and get you the best possible outcome for your case. Call us today or fill out the contact form on this page.