Getting arrested while driving under the influence is one thing but what if you're not driving at all? What if you're sleeping while drunk in your car? Can you get arrested for that in Michigan?

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Is It Illegal to Sleep in Your Car?

No, it's not illegal to sleep in your car in Michigan.

While there is no outright national ban on sleeping in your car, again it comes down to the situation as to whether or not you can get in trouble with local law enforcement. Generally, campsites, Walmart parking lots, and highway rest stops are okay to catch some shut-eye in.

It's when you add alcohol to the mix, that's when things can get a little ugly.


Can You Get Arrested for Sleeping While Drunk in Your Car in Michigan?

It may come as a surprise to some people but yes, you can get arrested for sleeping while intoxicated in your car.

If you pass out in the driver's seat with the car still running and you've been drinking, you can get arrested. Even if the car isn't running, you can still get in trouble.

According to George Law, the law says If you are sitting in the driver’s seat of your car, you have the physical ability to operate and control the vehicle. A police officer may charge you even if the car is parked and the engine is off because you were technically operating the vehicle.

You might think you're being responsible, but an officer may see it differently.

George Law:

Police can claim you drove the car before you pulled over to sleep. They may seek to use circumstantial evidence to bring an OWI charge in the absence of something more concrete like traffic camera footage.



A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine was drunk after having a few too many and she decided to sit in her car and wait for someone to come pick her up. It was cold out, so she got into the front seat and started the car.

When we walked out of the bar, we saw her sleeping in the front seat. We immediately woke her up and made her climb into the passenger seat. It's still possible to get into trouble because the car was still running, but it's a lot easier to beat the OWI charge if you're not behind the wheel.

Don't Drink and Drive

The smartest thing you can do is not drink at all when you know you have to drive.

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