Florida DUI Sleeping In Car
In Florida if you have had a few drinks and decide to sleep it off in your car you can be arrested for DUI. If the car is out of gas, you sleep in the back seat with the keys on the front floor board you could be convicted of DUI. The rationale for applying the “reasonably capable of being rendered operable standard” is due to the recognition that the law in this area is preventive in nature. Its purpose is to deter intoxicated individuals from getting into their vehicles, except as passengers, and enables law enforcement to apprehend an intoxicated driver before he strikes. Cloyd v. State, 943 So. 2d 149, 169 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2006). If a person is found passed out behind the steering wheel of a vehicle with the keys either in the ignition or on the floor of the vehicle, he may be found guilty of violating this statute because he is in actual physical control of a vehicle which can readily be made operational. See State, Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles v. Prue, 701 So.2d 637 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997) (conviction upheld for being in actual physical control while under the influence where a defendant was found passed out in a vehicle on the shoulder of a highway, with her face resting on the *195 steering wheel and the keys either in the ignition or on the floor of the vehicle, because she could have used the keys to start the vehicle and drive away); Baltrus v. State, 571 So.2d 75 (Fla. 4th DCA 1990) (upholding the reversal of a motion to dismiss where the defendant was found passed out and slumped over the steering wheel of his car, with the keys to the car in his hands);
The Good And The Bad
It is not bad to prosecute someone sitting in a car getting ready to drive. It is not a good idea to prosecute someone that walks out of a drinking establishment and decides to sleep it off. The problem with the DUI statute is that it is so broad that it encompasses almost everything from bicycles to sleeping impaired in the backseat of a car. Imagine the bar closes on a cool evening. Your designated driver leaves with someone else. You decide to go in your car to sleep it off. Keys on or off on the floor doesn't really matter. Front seat or back seat doesn't matter. If you are in the vehicle with the keys in your constructive possession you can be charged and convicted for DUI. The case has less jury appeal the farther the keys and driver are away from the ignition but does not make the case dismissible. The real question is what if you pass out drunk with roller skates on.