Can You Get a DUI While Parked in New York?

Some people end up very surprised to learn that, yes, it is possible to receive a DUI or DWI while sitting in a parked car in New York. Such arrests are not very common, but it does happen.

New York Law specifically states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle while under the influence. The key word is “operate,” which covers activities other than driving. 

This means if police officers witness you turning on the car while under the influence, they can arrest you. They might even arrest you if they watch you walking up to your car with your keys in hand while clearly under the influence, especially if no other potential drivers are with you. 

Sleeping in a Parked Car

What if you sleep in your parked car specifically to avoid driving under the influence?

Much will depend on the location of the vehicle. Parked at the bar? You can probably make the case that you were attempting to “sleep it off” in a safe location before driving.

Miles away from the bar? That suggests you drove the car while drunk; a deduction could lead to your arrest. This has happened in the past. In the case, The People of the State of New York vs. Stan Hryckowian, finding a defendant asleep in a parking lot between his mother’s house and his own house did not save him from a DWI charge. 


If you are under the influence of drugs or suspect you are over the legal blood alcohol limit, avoid:

  • Sitting in the driver’s seat of any car. If you’re going to sleep in your car, consider sleeping in the passenger or back seat. 
  • Holding your car keys
  • Turning your car on for any reason, even to access the radio or the AC. We may be able to help you defend such a case, but it’s no sure thing.

If you get arrested for DUI or DWI, you’re in serious trouble and will need help. Contact Ruskin Law to get help today. Our office has helped thousands of Brooklyn defendants deal with charges, and we can help you bring your case to the best possible outcome.

See Also:

When Can Police Search Your Vehicle in Brooklyn, NY? 

Legal Consequences for New York DUI 

What Are Different Types of DUI Charges?

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Neil S. Ruskin
188 Montague Street Suite 900
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Local: (718) 237-1547
Fax: 718-875-4011