CHINO, CA – Charges were dropped this week against a UPS Teamster who was accused of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). At approximately 5:37 a.m., John Doe was found sleeping in his vehicle in a business complex parking lot. A police officer noticed Doe asleep over his steering wheel and knocked on his window to conduct a routine welfare check. Doe explained to the officer how he had pulled over to rest after spending the evening at a friend’s house in Rancho Cucamonga. Doe admitted to consuming one beer hours earlier and explained how he was extremely tired on his drive home.  The officer asked Doe to complete a series of field sobriety tests and determined that Doe was operating his vehicle under the influence. Even though Doe was not physically driving, the officer discovered Doe asleep in his vehicle with his keys were still in the ignition and arrested Doe on charges of DUI. Doe was taken to Chino Police Department.

Doe retained Jeffrey Salberg of Jorgensen & Salberg, LLP to represent his case. On Feb. 2, 2017, Salberg appeared in Rancho Cucamonga Court on behalf of Doe for his pre-trial hearing. Doe was facing fines of more than $2,000, mandatory Alcoholics Anonymous classes, and a year suspension of his driver’s license. At the conclusion of the hearing, all charges against Doe were dropped and the suspension on Doe’s license was lifted.

Doe is a UPS driver of over 10 years who relies heavily on his ability to drive in order to support his family. Doe commented, “I am thankful that Jeff Salberg was able to make this terrible mistake go away. It’s definitely something that could have ruined my career if I did not have someone like Jeff to defend my case.”

Can You Get a DUI for “Sleeping it Off?”

The answer is yes, but whether or not you are convicted depends on several elements. Our clients often ask how they can be arrested for impaired driving when they weren’t even driving their car. Usually, cases like Doe’s are a result of a police officer happening upon an individual sitting in the driver’s seat of his/her car and investigating after suspecting he or she has been drinking. The end result is often the arrest of the individual, even if they were just sitting in their vehicle or sleeping. This arrest may not lead to a conviction, however, if the prosecution cannot prove that you were driving a moving vehicle while impaired.

Ultimately, a judge or jury can take a look at the totality of the circumstances and decide whether to convict you or not. Here are some actions that won’t help your situation:

  • You are sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition.
  • You are in the driver’s seat and the engine is running (even if the car is parked).
  • You are parked on the side of a busy road.
  • You are passed out in the driver’s seat.
  • When questioned by the police, you tell them that you intend to drive in a few hours.

If you are a UPS Teamster and would like to find out more about your legal benefits, click here.