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The Kingston area has a few options for having fun and enjoying some booze. For example, you may love to hit up the brewery and hang out with your friends. Or, cracking open a beer on the Clinch River may be more your thing. Either way, you must be careful not to drink and drive.

In Tennessee, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle if you have a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08%. You may not realize, though, that it is possible to face DUI charges just for sleeping in your vehicle. Before your next night out, you should know how state law defines drunk driving.

The element of control 

With most DUI matters, an intoxicated person drives a motor vehicle on a public roadway or in another type of public area. The state’s DUI laws, though, offer broader prohibitions than the normal paradigm suggests. If you have physical control of the vehicle, an officer may legally arrest you on suspicion of DUI. Even if you are asleep, you may have physical control of your car, truck or SUV.

A facts-based analysis 

What constitutes physical control of a motor vehicle likely depends on the facts. In determining whether you have physical control, a judge or jury may want to know the following:

  • The location of your car keys
  • The location of your vehicle
  • The status of your car’s engine
  • Your location inside or outside the vehicle

If the facts indicate that you are in a position to control or drive your vehicle, you have a greater chance of a DUI arrest and conviction. This is particularly true if it appears that you drove drunk to the place where you parked your vehicle.

Drinking and driving is always a bad idea in the Volunteer State. You must realize that you do not actually have to drive your vehicle to run afoul of state law. By understanding how even sleeping in your vehicle can land you in legal hot water, you can better plan for enjoying your night on the town.