Is it Legal to Sleep in Your Car in Nevada?

Yes, you are allowed to take a nap in your vehicle in Nevada. However, some people end up facing DUIs because they are caught sleeping in their cars. There is no statute that prevents Nevada residents from sleeping in their cars. Instead, the law allows police officers to initiate police encounters with those who are asleep in their vehicles. 

Probable Cause

Probable cause is an important concept in criminal law. It details when and why a police officer may detain an individual. If a police officer detains an individual illegally, then any evidence gathered from the encounter would likely be thrown out. Those who are facing charges related to unlawful stops will be able to argue that the detention was illegal and any evidence gathered cannot be used against the defendant. 

Does a police officer have probable cause to detain a suspect if they are sleeping in their vehicle? The answer depends on where your vehicle is at the time of the stop. As an example, if a police officer finds you asleep at the wheel at a stop sign, chances are good that you will be charged with DUI. If you are at a green light, snoozing it off, chances are pretty good you will be charged with DUI.

It is also true that if you are in a parking lot, you could be charged with DUI. There would be a presumption that you were either drunk when you got there or that you could not wait until you got home. Either way, there would be a presumption of DUI if you fail the chemical tests. 

How to Sleep it Off Properly

If you ever find yourself in a situation where your driving is compromised, you should definitely not continue to drive for fear of getting a DUI for sleeping it off. You may have placed yourself in a bad situation, but you did not make it worse by continuing behind the wheel. However, if the keys are in the ignition, you should remove them, get yourself out of the front seat, and position yourself in the backseat. Why? Because Nevada rules allow prosecution for DUI if you are in “actual physical control” of the car. This means the front seat with the keys in the ignition.

So, to answer the question posed in the title, no, it is not illegal to sleep in your car. However, an individual sleeping in their car gives police probable cause to perform a wellness check on the person in the vehicle. This could lead to charges like DUI if the individual is drunk behind the wheel. 

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H&P Law represents the interests of injured Las Vegas natives, people who move to Las Vegas, and tourists alike, in personal injury lawsuits. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help. 

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