Imagine you’re sitting in the drivers seat of your car, keys in the ignition, but you’re not moving the vehicle. A police officer comes along and asks you if you’ve been drinking, and although you have, you aren’t actually moving the vehicle so you’re safe, right? Wrong. Even if you’re sleeping in the car seat and the engine is fully turned off, you can still be charged with impaired driving.
If you’ve fallen for that old misconception that you can’t get arrested for impaired driving if you aren’t actually driving the vehicle at the time, you might want to brush up on your Care and Control laws.
How do they work? If you’re sleeping in your car, filling the gas tank, or just standing beside it holding the keys, you can be deemed to be in Care and Control of your vehicle. That’s OK if you haven’t been drinking, but if you’re under the influence of alcohol and police find you to be in Care and Control of a vehicle, you’re going to be charged with impaired driving.
One man who flipped his car in Ontario recently probably wishes he had known a bit more about Care and Control. Police found a vehicle on its roof in a creek, and after some searching, they found the driver on a nearby road. He was immediately arrested and charged with care and control of a motor vehicle while impaired, and after he submitted to a breathalyzer, he was also charged with over 80.
If you are charged with impaired driving in Ontario due to being in Care and Control, you may end up with fines, drivers license suspensions, and an ignition interlock device for at least a year.
Yes, it’s safer to sleep off a night of drinking in your car instead of driving home, but just being near your car after drinking can get you in trouble. Your best bet is to stay far away from your vehicle if you’ve had alcohol, and if you need a ride home, call a cab or ask a sober friend.