Sleeping It Off is a Bad Idea
Isn’t it reasonable to think that one might not fully comprehend their level of impairment until getting behind the wheel of an automobile and staring on a trip? In a peculiar set of rulings throughout the country’s State courts, it can be said that we are presumed to know with specificity our blood alcohol level at all times. In fact, some courts have gone so far as to say that a Defendant in a DUI trial can testify to what his blood alcohol level was at the time of his arrest, despite his not being an expert. Claims DUI Defense Attorney William Moore in Broward County Florida.
The State courts have quoted the use of alcohol impairment charts that are readily available and widely publicized to the public, coupled with their knowledge of precisely how many drinks that they consumed on the night in question. Quite frankly, I would be amazed if anybody on earth, with specificity, could state the alcohol content within their blood after having consumed any amount of alcohol. A diabetic, someone who had just consumed bread, worked around industrial compounds, or used mouthwash would have an equally difficult time, despite their having consumed no alcohol whatsoever.
With this in mind, it is not unreasonable to think that most people at some point might find themselves in a situation when they realize that their faculties are, in fact, impaired by alcohol after they have gotten behind the wheel and begun driving. This would be due to the scientific fact that alcohol, like all drugs, is absorbed by the body, and reaches a peak, and is then eliminated. Many drivers may have not been impaired when starting to travel, only having the alcohol “hit them” and subsequently render them impaired at the “peak period.” In any situation such as this, we would imagine that the responsible thing to do would be to pull over immediately and sleep it off. Do this in Florida and you might as well call the Sheriff’s office from your cell phone after pulling over and have them haul you to jail. Pulling over just about anywhere in this State, to sleep in your car will almost certainly result in an officer and/or paramedic tapping at your window. When officers see signs of impairment, a DUI investigation will ensue and an arrest will be made.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other powerful lobbyist groups who have made DUI the politically charged crime that it is, justify such arrests by claiming that either the person was impaired at some point while they were driving (such rationale completely disregards the scientific reality which is absorption and elimination of alcohol), and should be punished, or that while still impaired, a person might wake up at any time, drive and endanger other motorists. The argument makes sense, however, punishing people for what they might do is, at least at this moment unconstitutional, as it makes otherwise legal behavior criminal,. Nonetheless, to arrest and prosecute individuals for what they might do, the Florida courts have extended to the utmost degree the definition of “dominion and control” of an automobile.
Under Florida law, a person can be “operating” or “in physical control” of a vehicle if he is asleep, passed out, hunched over the wheel, or his or her keys are in their pocket. You might be surprised that there are some states in this country do not agree with Florida’s ruling and don’t criminalize such behavior. The statutes and case rulings of these other states will be of little solace, however, to the people who pulled over and did the right thing in Florida only to find themselves sitting in a jail. Traveling outside of Florida, be mindful that the law on this issue changes as you cross each state line. Variations that make “sleeping it off” criminal are: if the engine is on but the vehicle is parked; the engine is on but the vehicle is inoperable; the engine is off and the vehicle is parked; or, the engine is off and the vehicle is inoperable. Florida conforms to the toughest and most illogical standard which makes it a crime to be unconscious behind the wheel of a car on private property, without the engine running. This includes in a parking space, in a private development, in front of your own home.
Once again we see the effect of the politically charged crime of DUI as evolving a set of unconstitutional laws which are upheld and supported. The truth is that as a society we are making criminals out of people who were just trying to do the right