Is It Legal To Sleep In Your Car If You’ve Been Drinking In New Jersey?
The holidays are approaching and so are the parties and gatherings. We've all heard the expression, you need to "sleep it off". You might think that is a responsible thing to do if you had one too many. After all, your body metabolizes about a drink per hour, so why not turn on the heat, and take an hour snooze just to make sure? There's a huge reason, you could get arrested.
In New Jersey, an intoxicated person sitting in the driver's seat while the engine is running (heat) is considered to be drunk driving. It is true, you do not even have to be driving for them to arrest and convict you of a DWI.
It has everything to do with “the intent to drive under the influence”, maybe you intended to drive but you passed out behind the wheel, and they have no way of knowing.
What Counts As Operating A Vehicle
Putting a key in the ignition
Sitting in your car while intoxicated
Appearing to be interested in driving
If you stumble in or out of your car even while it is not running, in view of a police officer you could get charged because there seems to be intent.
If you get caught “sleeping it off” and you get questioned by the police you are in big trouble. You could be arrested on the spot and charged with a DWI. All it takes is a .08% blood alcohol level to be “drunk”. You’ll also deal with fines, fees and jail. You’ll also face the embarrassment of having to install an ignition interlock device to start your car for three months and you’ll have to go to an intoxicated driver resource center and pay an extra 1k per year for three years of extra insurance.
In short, get an Uber and more than that no napping in your car after a drink! Just to be thorough I texted a friend of the show, NBC News Legal Analyst, Danny Cevallos to ask him if it is safe to be drunk in an Uber if it got pulled over. This was his response,
"You could be blacked-out drunk as long as you are a passenger with a sober driver. However, you cannot sit in even a parked car in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition if you are drunk."
Be safe on the roads and plan ahead because it is just not worth it! You can read more about the rules here.
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