Can I Sleep In My Car When Drunk In New Jersey?

Free Case Evaluation
person sleep in car

A DUI conviction is a serious offense, and most people are aware of the consequences of drunk driving. Sometimes people consider sleeping in their car after a night out to avoid driving home with alcohol in their system. However, this action can be considered a criminal offense in some states. To learn more about what could happen if you sleep in your car while drunk in New Jersey, read on or reach out to a Mercer County DUI Lawyer today.


New Jersey law states that a person can be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above 0.08 and they’re found operating a vehicle. The law technically never states that a person needs to be driving the car in order to be found guilty of a DUI. This means that if you are caught sleeping in your car while drunk and you have the engine running – even just for heat or air conditioning – you can still get a DUI. If the car is off, it won’t count as a DUI. However, a prosecutor does not need to prove in court that you were actually driving the vehicle in order to get you convicted of drunk driving.


Driving under the influence is taken seriously in New Jersey. If you are convicted of a DUI for operating your vehicle while intoxicated, the severity of your penalties depends on the circumstances of the incident. In most DUI cases, you get more penalties the higher your BAC was at the time you were found behind the wheel of the car. If you’re a first-time offender, you could face a $400 fine, participation in an intoxicated driver resource center, and required use of an ignition interlock device (IID). If you’re a second-time or repeat offender, you’ll likely face harsher penalties like more expensive fines, license suspension for a period of time, and possible jail time.

An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to reduce or dismiss your charges if they can prove that you did not intend to drive while drunk. While it is entirely possible that you can still be convicted of a DUI no matter your intentions, it’s still important to prove your intention was to avoid drunk driving.

Are you facing DUI charges after being caught sleeping in your car drunk with the engine running? You’ll want an effective DUI defense attorney on your side. The Law Office of Douglas Herring is here to fight for you! Contact us today for a free consultation.

Read Our
Latest Blogs

See all our blogs
car seat in back of car

What Happens if I Get a DUI With a Minor Passenger?

Click to read about the various penalties for getting a DUI with a minor passenger present in the ca...

Read More
scrabble tiles that spell out plea bargains

Are Plea Bargains Allowed in New Jersey DUI Cases?

Read on for more information about New Jersey's new law regarding plea bargains in DUI cases and spe...

Read More
See all our blogs