The short answer to this question, is yes; in Florida, you can be charged with a DUI even if you were sitting a parked car. This is because Florida Statute § 316.003(10) defines a driver as “any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.” It’s the “actual physical control” bit that allows officers to charge you with a DUI even if you are not technically driving.
In addition to the aforementioned law, Florida Statutes § 316.193(1) reinforces this idea by providing that an intoxicated “person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment… if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state.”
In DUI cases, “actual physical control” has a lot to do with the keys to the car. The prosecution may pin you with a DUI if you had access to your keys while you were intoxicated in your car. If they were in the ignition or on your person, you may face DUI charges because you technically had control of your car.
So, if you too many drinks and decided to sleep in your car instead of driving home, you can still face charges.
How can I fight DUI charges when I was not even driving?
Of course, in order for the prosecution to win its case against you, it will need to prove you were in control of your car. There are a few ways to defend against this.
For instance, if your car was not on and your keys were not easily assessable (in your glove box, purse, or behind your tires) you may argue that you did not have control of your car or any intent on driving that night. If you were sleeping in the backseat, that is another mark in your favor. The fact that your car was away from a highway, like in a parking lot or residence, can also support your case.