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Can I get arrested for DUI while I’m not driving?

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Posted on May 23, 2022

The common terms for DUI are “drinking and driving” and “drunk driving.” But in Illinois, you do not actually have to be driving to get charged with DUI.

The state DUI statute prohibits driving or being “in actual physical control of any vehicle” while you have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. “Actual physical control” can include being inside the vehicle — even if the engine is off and the keys are not even in the ignition.

Thus, if you have a few drinks and decide to sleep it off in the back seat instead of driving home, you might think you are making a responsible choice. But you are exposing yourself to possible arrest even though you are not “driving drunk.”

Asleep on the expressway

A suburban Chicago mayor’s recent arrest is an example of how this can happen. According to a news report, police claim they found the mayor asleep in his car on the expressway. He was charged with misdemeanor DUI and obstructing the road. It isn’t clear if his vehicle was running when the police arrived.

A DUI arrest can be embarrassing for a public figure and put their political career in jeopardy. Most of us don’t have to worry about that, but getting arrested can affect your reputation and might cost you your job if you cannot make it to work without your driver’s license.

Protecting yourself after a DUI arrest

Now that you know that it’s illegal to sleep in your car while intoxicated in Springfield, you can hopefully avoid an arrest for this. But if you do get arrested on suspicion of DUI, there are steps you can take to protect your rights, starting with contacting a defense attorney as soon as possible.