When you headed out for the evening, you had no intention of getting drunk. A few hours later, you realize that you’d had one (or two or three) drinks too many to be sober. Since your car is sitting in the lot, you aren’t sure what you should do.
Whatever you decide, don’t try sleeping off your buzz in the car until you’re sober enough to drive home. A quirk in New Hampshire’s laws allows the police to charge you with drunk driving even if you’re just sleeping in your car — even if that vehicle is somehow inoperable. In other words, even if you crawl into the backseat of your vehicle to sleep, you’re still in actual physical control of the vehicle and you can get arrested for drunk driving.
Late last year, several state lawmakers tried to change the wording of the law so that intoxicated people could sleep in their cars without fear of arrest (and even turn on the heat when it’s cold). That bill met with strong opposition from the likes of the Police Association and the Association of Chiefs of Police, all of whom said that it would make an officer’s job too difficult. Senate Bill 34 was killed after a narrow vote.
So, what can you do if you’re too drunk to drive home? Leave your car parked where it is for now and call a friend for a ride. If nobody’s around, use Uber or Lyft. Whatever the cost, it’s cheaper than a drunk driving conviction.
If you do make a mistake and are charged with drunk driving, find out how a defense attorney can help.