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New Jersey DUI Attorneys Warn Against Sleeping It Off in the Car

December 5, 2012 | Posted In Criminal Law - DUI/DWI

Sleeping off your night of partying in your car may not be such a great idea, New Jersey DUI attorneys say. Last month, police arrested Nicholas Healy, 27, a Toms River resident, when they found him passed out in his Honda Civic in a parking lot around 3:00 a.m. According to the police report, the driver’s head was on the steering wheel and the car was in park with the engine running. Healy and his car smelled like alcohol, and a 40-ounce bottle of Budweiser was found in the car. Although the car wasn’t moving, police took Healy into custody, charging him with a DUI and having an open container in the car.

According to New Jersey DUI/DWI law, any person with a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08 is prohibited from driving, operating, or being in physical control of a motor vehicle. New Jersey DUI attorneys say that determining “physical control” is the trickiest part of a DUI charge when the car is not moving.  To determine physical control of a motor vehicle, police officers and attorneys examine how warm the engine was, where the keys were, if the engine was on, and where the defendant was at the time of arrest. Police were able to charge Healy with a DUI because they could prove that he had been in control of his Civic. Although he was sleeping at the wheel when police found him, Healy’s car was running and he was in the driver’s seat with his head resting on the steering wheel.

Healy’s arrest highlights how drunken public behavior can lead to a DUI, even if you do not drive home after a night of drinking. Suspicious or unusual behavior, like sleeping in a running car, can lead to a DUI charge. Courts will examine all evidence in determining whether you were driving while intoxicated. With the help of experienced New Jersey DUI attorneys, you can defend yourself if there is a doubt about your level of physical control at the time of your arrest.

The New Jersey DUI attorneys at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman defend individuals accused of DUI or drunken public behavior across the state of New Jersey. Contact an experienced NJ drunk driving attorney today for a free consultation.

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