Pulling Over and Sleeping it Off:
Still a DUI?
Information courtesy of Lawrence Taylor - DUIblog
I received a number of queries concerning my previous post, "Parking Under the Influence". And the answer is....Yes, you can be arrested in many states for "sleeping under the influence" in your parked car -- on the shaky theory that you were probably driving some time earlier and were probably intoxicated at the time. What was unusual about the Alabama story was that those asleep in their cars had admittedly never driven -- but were arrested because they might.
The response of MADD and government has been that this helps prevent DUI-related fatalities. As the Alabama sheriff said, "What if they woke up at 2:00am...and decided to drive?"
What is frightening, of course, are the obvious ramifications: Where do we stop once we decide to punish folks for what they might do?
In any event, despite the rhetoric about preventing traffic fatalities, the real concern seems increasingly focused on punishment rather than prevention:
Question: If an individual begins driving home from a restaurant and realizes he has had too much to drink, what do we want him to do -- if we are truly interested in preventing an accident?
Answer: We would like to see that person pull over and sleep it off.
Question: How do we encourage that conduct?
Answer: We don't punish him for doing it.
Question: Then why do police continue to arrest and the courts to convict these folks for drunk driving?
There are two issues involved. First, the legal issue: Although under the influence, was the individual driving? The various states have slightly different definitions of