Q: I arrived at a college and parked my car, drank all night at a party and returned to my car to sleep because I wasn’t allowed in my friend’s dorm because it was too late to check in. I was woken up while my seat was reclined and I was dead asleep. The only reason my keys were in the ignition is because it was too cold and I needed the heat. The car was never running at any point. I was never breathalyzed and was taken straight to the hospital for blood tests. Is there a way to get this reduced to just an underage? I was never driving my car! (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: There is much case law on this subject and the issue boils down to whether you were in physical control of the car. In a lot of these cases, the car is running and the DA argues that the passed out driver could have awakened from their stupor, bumped the shifter, and set the car in gear thus creating a dangerous situation. The fact that the car was not running in your case is very helpful to you. Unless the police state to the contrary about the car running, you may have a good defense for a trial if the DA will not bargain. You need to review all of the police reports with a criminal defense attorney and have representation at the Preliminary Hearing. Have the testimony recorded. You may be ARD eligible if your defense is weak or you cannot stomach a trial.