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Toronto lawyers dedicated to helping people charged with impaired driving

Charged with DUI while sleeping in a vehicle

Care and control: It matters a lot whether the accused was sleeping in the driver’s seat, passenger side, or in the back.

One of the most common arguments used to beat a DUI related charge in court is to say that the person was not in care and control of the vehicle. Just simply being drunk in a car is obviously not enough to be convicted of a DUI. If this were the case nobody would be able to take a taxi home after drinking. In Canada the law focuses on whether the accused was in care and control of the vehicle. Even if the car was in park a person may still be charged and convicted depending on the circumstances.

Sleeping in the driver’s seat

Being in the driver’s seat drunk does not not solely mean that a person is legally in care and control and will be convicted if charged but it is the worst possible place to be intoxicated in a car. Courts have found that a person could, while drunk, potentially put the car in motion and cause an accident even if they are asleep if they are sitting in the driver’s seat. Now of course if the keys to the vehicle are nowhere near the accused at the time of the arrest this is a more difficult argument to make as they may have no ability to move the vehicle either intentionally or unintentionally.

If you are drunk you should not be alone in a vehicle at all. It is better to not be in any position possible to set the car in motion whatsoever. Some people like to camp, stealth camp, and do other things in their cars and often these sorts of adventures involve alcohol and camping out or sleeping in the vehicle. Some people have vans or SUVs that they use exclusively for this purpose. Care and control cases are never black and white.

Generally speaking the further away a person is from operating (driving or moving) the vehicle the better off they are in terms of defending the charges.

If someone gets drunk in an RV/bus they could get charged for impaired driving in Ontario if the court considers them to be in care and control. There is no definitive rule with regards to this so the law is more gray than black or white. Certainly sleeping in the driver’s seat with the engine on or even with the keys in the ignition with the engine off will likely lead to criminal charges if the police show up and knock on your window.

People who have not been drinking should not sleep in motor vehicles because they may end up being criminally charged even though they were trying to do the right thing by not driving and sleeping it off.

If you do get charged with an impaired/over 80 offence when you were not driving but simply present in a motor vehicle you should call us because care and control cases are sometimes beatable in court. Just because you are drunk in a car certainly does not automatically mean you will be found guilty of impaired driving. The case may be winnable at trial or weaknesses in it may be able to be presented to the Crown Attorney leading to the charges being dropped without having to go to trial.

Call us today.

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with impaired driving offences throughout Ontario.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on impaired driving related charges protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.

    call us: 647-228-5969


  call us: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

We only can take calls/emails relating to Ontario, Canada area cases. Please see our FAQ for a listing of the courthouses we service.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending an impaired driving related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel