Is it illegal to sleep in my own car in a fast food parking lot rather than drive home drunk?

UPDATED: Mar 29, 2012

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Is it illegal to sleep in my own car in a fast food parking lot rather than drive home drunk?

I was arrested for DUI drunk in public and my car was impounded. I was on private property.

Asked on March 29, 2012 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Even though the parking lot may be private property, a fast food restaurant (and its parking lot) is a place of public accomodation (like a shopping mall) and being drunk at/in it is being drunk in public.

2) Since there is no way that your car could get to the parking lot without being driving there (barring improbable events--e.g. someone loads your car on a wrecker, drives the wrecker to the lot, and unloads your car) and you were in it while drunk, the police assumed (probably correctly) that you had driven there drunk. If that was not the case and you could provide credible evidence that someone else (not you) drove the car there and just left you in it, you *may* be able to fight the DUI charge.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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