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Can you get a DUI without the 'D?'

You leave a party or a bar, get in your car and then realize that you're in no condition to drive because you've had too much to drink. You decide to stay in your car and sleep it off or wait for a friend or family member to pick you up. That's the prudent thing to do, right? You have to do more than that if you don't want to risk being charged with a DUI.

That scenario was actually the plot of an episode of the hit show "Everybody Loves Raymond" some years back. However, as Patricia Heaton's character Debra found out, you can get a DUI without the "D."

If there's the possibility that you could drive and you have more than the legal limit of alcohol or drugs in your system, you could be arrested. Kentucky law states that "A person shall not operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle" while under the influence.

Judges generally consider the totality of the situation. For example:

-- Was the motor running?

-- Was the person driving the car prior to parking it?

-- Where was the car?

-- Was the person awake or asleep?

-- Did the person intend to drive the car?

Obviously, if you're passed out at the wheel in the middle of the road with the key in the ignition and the engine running, it's a different situation than if you never left the parking lot and put your keys away to sleep it off and/or wait for someone to come pick you up.

Since you can't be assured that the police, prosecutors or judge will believe that you had no intention of driving while under the influence, it's best to stay away from your car. Go back inside, call an Uber or at the very least, move to the backseat and put your keys away. If you are arrested, it's important to seek the help of a Kentucky criminal defense attorney who can help work to minimize the criminal penalties, fines and impact on your driving privileges.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Sleep It Off in Your Car Without Getting a DUI," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed Feb. 04, 2016

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Michael J. Thompson, Attorney at Law

16360 Fort Campbell Blvd.
Oak Grove, KY 42262
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Phone: 270-605-0441
Toll Free: 866-397-7788
Fax: 270-439-1177

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