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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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