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Last night my partner and i went out for a meal and knowing we would probably have a few drinks decided to camp and took the van. All was well untill 1 am when a bent copper woke us up bashing on the side door 'POLICE! OPEN UP' Aparently they had had a report of a suspicious person in the area. We're sat there in a sleeping bag with pjammas on looking stunned. Eh???? Na weve not seen anyone??? He then noticed a bottle of wine half drunk and proceeded to breathalise me! Luckily somehow i was under the limit - however he informed us that we had the keys on our person and if over the limit would be charged with dr 40 / drunk with intention! Its scared us off camping in beach carparks like we have doing loads over last year because these are public places. Has anyone had a similar experience???? Is a camp site not a public place?? I thought that as long as the keys where not in the ignition it was ok?? we even had all the stuff for a fry up scattered all over the van. It was blatently obvious we were not going to try and drive home:bhd any advice much apreciated x x x
 

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Makes no difference where the keys are mate. If you in any vehicle intoxicated with the means to opperate it (ie the keys are in it somewhere or on you) your f:*ed I: I fell foul of this 5 years ago and was actually banned for 12months drunk in charge etc etc, i wasnt driving and the keys where in a bag under the back seat, i was asleep!.
Be carefull, only place your allowed to do it is proper campsites mate T:
 

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As kieran said above. Only place it totally safe to do it is on a campsite.

One question though, you said he was a "bent copper" ?? Did he ask you for a bribe or something ?
 

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We innocent people are easy bait to them f:*:*er :*:*:*:*:* . Was u in a pub car park? If so is this not classed as private property. Sry but it winds me up when u get Coppers going for innocent people I call them p:*s.


:ILU::ILU::ILU::ILU::ILU::ILU:
 

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I didn't realise you could get done for that, i've slept in my van drunk in some public places, wont do it any more, now i know. So what if you return to your van drunk, you've obviously got your keys on you to get in, you open up the van, then hide the keys, say under wheel arch or nearby hedge, are you acting illegally? :confused:
 

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The offence is "Drunk in charge of a Motor Vehicle" and if you are in posetion of the keys then you are seen as being "in charge"

if you are parked somewhere where you could reasonably be asked to Move, such as a public car park, layby or on private land without permission, you could be presumed (in court) to have taken this into account and intended to drive if required.

If however, you have arranged in advance to park overnight (with a landlord, or a campsite etc) then you can prove you had no intention of driving (what you need to do if prosected for being drunk in charge)

or if you don't have access to the keys, say you left them in the pub with the staff, or a friend took them, or if there are two vans you swapped keys then went to bed.

I used to have a key safe attached to the towbar on my old bay camper. Plus I used to pile a load of stuff in the driver and passenger seat to make it clear I wasn't driving anywhere.

At the end of the day though, if you are somewhere where you can be told to move along. You are stuffed.
 

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you were camped in a car park, IE not a campsite..
the police were called and were no doubt going to ask you to move on..
if youve been drinking how can you move on without driving..
If you wish to wild camp, expect to get moved on and dont drink, if you dont get moved on consider it a good night..
Drinking and wild camping will do the camper community no favours as how can we show joe public were responsible..
Where do the police draw the line, its ok to drink in a full camper if in your PJ's ..but not outside a sleeping bag.
Luckily yo werent over the limit..

If wild camping dont drink, simples...A:

as for busy bodies comments, how else would you expect the police to respond if someone calls about a suspicous van ? what if they asked him to move on ignored the wine bottle and then he crashes injuring someone else.
 

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Often thought about this myself and so far I have just avoided doing it. There must be a clever solution to get around this though. If the law states that you are technically in charge if you have the keys with you, does this then mean that the Officer has to prove you have the keys on you? What if you said you didn't have an ignition key, and so couldn't move the van? And furthermore what if you literally didn't have a key even if the vehicle was searched?

Its probably OTT but what about a timed safe, so that you cannot get to your ignition keys until sober! In addition to the ignition key, what if you install one of those handbrake security locks, and don't have the keys to that either so that the vehicle cannot be moved at all (even without power).

It can't be THAT hard to prove that you had no intention of moving a vehicle really (innocent until proven guilty), but you would want a well planned, belt and braces approach to proving it - Incase you get a jobsworth like in the original post.

Good topic though, and well done for posting your experiences!! T:T:

PS Drinking/Camping on a Tuesday...............Good work!!
 

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I've only ever drunk and slept in the van in a private pub carpark with the express permission of the landlord

generally wouldnt look to camp in a layby/car park as its very likely you'll get moved on.

and as was already said, just dont drink and expect to spend the night on public land. Saves everyone else getting a bad rep
 

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The other issue, if you are parked anywhere without permission, the police can ask you to move along at any time.
If you can't that could create further problems ?
 

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The other issue, if you are parked anywhere without permission, the police can ask you to move along at any time.
If you can't that could create further problems ?
Fair point BUT probably not as bad as Drunk in charge, and besides they never seem to able to move Pikeys on that quick!! Just a thought T:
 

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Thats kinda scuppered my plans for tonite then! :(

When i go out i take my spare key with me, the one i take in the sea, it only opens the doors and hasnt got the chip in it to start the van, so if a copper sees me aproach or get in the van i'll give him the key and tell him to start it! But the ignition key is usually with someone or nearby, so that sucks!
I dont move the van, even for work in the morning, i park near work the night before - so affectively its just a roof over my head for the night.
Well i'm glad i havent been done already - cheers for the heads up! T:
 

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Yet another example of why the country is royally pholked! I have never fallen foul of this but could easily if the police decided to come on to a vw show site. It really makes my blood boil when there are idiots knocking lumps out of each other in the town everynight and because they are so drunk can barely stand at A&E to get booked in to get it sorted. They are never charged with d&d and if theyt are its a slapped wrist not having your license revoked!

IMO the black rats should get out of their posh motors, bin the posers white cap and help the rest of the hard working boys and girls on response in the town. Lock up the nonces, scumbags and thieves and let the sensible few that buy a camper, tax it, insure it, MOT it and then park it legally to sleep then if they are still ****** and drive it, actually drive it, nick em. Why is that so hard?
 

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VW show site would not be relevant.

You are parked up for the night, with permission, with no chance of being asked to move on, and clearly no intention of driving.
 

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Is the potential offense, Drunk in Charge, or drunk driving,
Being devils advocate, surely if you are in it, on public property, you are "incharge", wether or not you are driving, even if you dont have the keys to start it.. Different scenario if its private property with permision i assume.
 

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Being in the vehicle does not legally make you "in charge" having the keys does.

So if you are in the vehicle but the keys are with, for example the Landlord of the pub who's carpark you are in, you are fine.
Or if your mates took the keys home with them and you went to sleep, or if you managed to fit a timelock safe so you couldn't access the keys till morning etc.
 

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How bout if you swallow the ignition key? You could drink a load of guiness and a loaf of brown bread just before bed then it would be a waiting game on the throne in the morning with the paper so you can get going!
 
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