Care or Control

Sometimes drivers find themselves in a situation whereby they have been drinking and they are aware of the fact that they are too intoxicated to legally drive home. Drivers often have the right idea in thinking that “sleeping it off” is a safe option but sometimes the execution of this option has unintended consequence. Usually you are best off calling a cab to get you home safely, but if your only option is to sober up in your car you should read this article to learn the right way to do this. Failure to follow the correct process could result in an impaired driving charge despite the fact that you were not actually driving.

Law enforcers can charge impaired drivers for sleeping in the driver’s seat, because being in the driver’s seat automatically makes you the one ”in care or control” of the vehicle, whether it is moving or not. The driver is seen as a threat to other road users, therefore being asleep does not eliminate an individual from getting in trouble with the law.

It may seem irrational to drivers, that law enforcement is unable to grasp that they were, “trying to do the right thing”. Therefore, it is important that drivers are aware of the reasons why their behaviour may be deemed wrong within the courts in order to have a better understanding of police actions.

What if such a law was not in place? It could happen that some drivers may rest shortly and then continue on their journey. This means that there is still some risk of getting involved in a car accident and endangering others since sleeping does not mean that the alcohol has been removed from the driver’s system. Therefore, the law must take a cautious view and make it an offence to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, even in a stationary vehicle.

The police are not irrational; they are simply enforcing the law. Drivers are indeed advised to sleep in their vehicle if unable to drive, but they should only do so in the passenger seats, preferably the back seat.

If you have been found in the driver’s seat intoxicated, then law enforcement has the right to request that you take a breathalyzer test and, if sufficient proof of you being under the influence is found, they have the right to take you into custody. Unless you have a valid reason for being in the driver’s seat and can prove it, your driver’s licence will be seized and you will be taken into custody and can even be sentenced to jail time.

To avoid running into such problems with the law, remember to drink responsibly and make wise decisions. Plan ahead by establishing designated driver or a ride home. If you get into a situation where your only option is to spend the night in your car, never get behind the wheel. Instead sleep it off in the back seat.

This article has been prepared for and posted by The Law Firm of Ted Yoannou. While we make every effort to post useful and factual information, the material found here should not be interpreted as legal advice. Please contact us if you wish to review your own individual circumstances,, 416‑650‑1011.

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