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Had this question posed on my RAV4 forum and no one seems to really have a good answer... Anyone here know?

Oh, the question!


Now here's a thought! If you were parked up, in a motorhome or caravan, say in a lay-by or car park, with the intention of staying the night (assuming it's legal to do so) and you have had a nice dinner, and a bevy or two, can the Police legally breathalise even though it is fairly obvious that you are there for the night!

Even a policeman I asked didn't know the answer to this!
 

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Drunk in charge and drink drive are different offences, so it depends what questions are asked etc and if the officer believes you intend to drive, for drunk in charge you would need to be in control of brakes and steering, or have the intention to drive. if you were in the back for example, keys locked or put somewhere else, then I think it would be very hard for the police to prove that you intended to drive, and in that scenario you are not in control of the veh so drink drive is not possible

if though the engine was running, keys in, seats empty ready to be sat in and you are in the back, then it is possible that you might be deemed in control, or in any case of nobody else is sitting in the front the perhaps you could be deemed as committing another offence (Quiting?)

It all does depend on the actual copper at the time, and tbh I find it hard to believe that a copper would nick someone for drunk in charge, or ask for a breath test if you were asleep in the back with no keys, but I suppose theres always some that would.

hope that helps? just my opinion though.

In any case even IF one got arrested for drunk in charge, the intention would have to be proven in order to get charged, which in interview with a solicitor I find would be fairly difficult.

no with breathalise, the police can require a breath test for certain conditions, for example suspicion of drink drive, after an accident, or after a moving traffic offence has been commited, which doesn't seem to fit into the asleep in the laybye/carpark
 

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Drunk in charge and drink drive are different offences, so it depends what questions are asked etc and if the officer believes you intend to drive, for drunk in charge you would need to be in control of brakes and steering, or have the intention to drive. if you were in the back for example, keys locked or put somewhere else, then I think it would be very hard for the police to prove that you intended to drive, and in that scenario you are not in control of the veh so drink drive is not possible

if though the engine was running, keys in, seats empty ready to be sat in and you are in the back, then it is possible that you might be deemed in control, or in any case of nobody else is sitting in the front the perhaps you could be deemed as committing another offence (Quiting?)

It all does depend on the actual copper at the time, and tbh I find it hard to believe that a copper would nick someone for drunk in charge, or ask for a breath test if you were asleep in the back with no keys, but I suppose theres always some that would.

hope that helps? just my opinion though.

In any case even IF one got arrested for drunk in charge, the intention would have to be proven in order to get charged, which in interview with a solicitor I find would be fairly difficult.

no with breathalise, the police can require a breath test for certain conditions, for example suspicion of drink drive, after an accident, or after a moving traffic offence has been commited, which doesn't seem to fit into the asleep in the laybye/carpark
Unless your name is Spock and been locking yourself in it LOL:LOL:
 

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There is a key difference between drunk in charge and drunk driving is my understanding.

With drunk driving, the prosecution have to prove that you were driving and were drunk.
With drunk in charge, the prosecution only has to prove you were in the vehicle and had the keys and were drunk, and then if they do that then the defendant has to prove that they werent intending to drive despite being equipped to and in the vehicle, otherwise it is assumed that you were.


So if you are asleep drunk in the back of your van in possession of the keys, then that is likely to be very open to interpretation.


My advice would be if you are asleep drunk in the back of the van and you have a policeman knocking on the door, pretend to still be asleep, as until you are awake they are going to have trouble breathalysing you and I dont believe they are allowed to break into the van to wake you up without a warrant!
 

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If your in a lay-by as part of a pubic highway or public car park my guess is they could nail you for dunk in charge of a vehicle ( basically anywhere where plod has jurisdiction) , if you were required to move for what ever reason you would legally be unfit to drive. Also as you would also have the keys on you the whole time the "intent" to drive would also be a chargeable offence

This is how I would interpret the situation, and is all hypothetical.. In reality it would probably come down to the individual cop and his use of common sense
 

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There is a key difference between drunk in charge and drunk driving is my understanding.

With drunk driving, the prosecution have to prove that you were driving and were drunk.
With drunk in charge, the prosecution only has to prove you were in the vehicle and had the keys and were drunk, and then if they do that then the defendant has to prove that they werent intending to drive despite being equipped to and in the vehicle, otherwise it is assumed that you were.


So if you are asleep drunk in the back of your van in possession of the keys, then that is likely to be very open to interpretation.


My advice would be if you are asleep drunk in the back of the van and you have a policeman knocking on the door, pretend to still be asleep, as until you are awake they are going to have trouble breathalysing you and I dont believe they are allowed to break into the van to wake you up without a warrant!
unless they thought you were unwell or worse, then they could to save life and limb.... that would be an expensive sleep LOL:

again as chip said, the intention would have to be proven, and that would include questions at the time, I think it would be quite difficult to get a prosecution if the officer arrested someone without asking questions, and I think most jury's would believe that a responsible camper owner, who wanted to sleep rather than drive under the influence, and were in the back on a made up bed, would have no intention to drive until they were sober.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This question was raised for a theoretical situation, not some pending court case, and when I read it, it made me wonder what the answer would be.

I am thinking along the lines that if you are parked up on a public road or lay-by - which is still part of the road way I am sure, then it is reasonable to say it is your responsibility to be able to drive if in the vehicle - but then again, if the vehicle was unoccupied, then it can't be moved anyway as no one to drive it, so should you be required to be in a fit state?

public car park ... Now what is a definition of a public car park? Could say one that is open to the public, but a Pub Car park is open to the public , and don't coppers "traditionally" wait for a drunk-driver to depart the car park before stopping him rather then as he gets in the car within the car park confines? How about motorway services? There you can usually buy a ticket for parking overnight or for extended hours.

I am thinking along the lines of if you are parked where it is legal to park (e.g. Not somewhere that says "no overnight parking"), and you are not sitting in the driving seat and keys are not in the ignition, then you don't have an "intent" to drive. Maybe need a pair of Rupert Bear Pajamas on just to prove the point :D

There are a couple of websites that, IMO, just confuse the issue with statements like "you have to prove you had no intent" rather then the other way round, and also claiming the same situation if you were suspected of being "drunk and in charge" of your vehicle on your own driveway - far as I know, your driveway would be private property and there is no mg alcohol limit for driving on private property?

Interesting topic and as the camping scene is getting starting, it is a useful topic to discuss and something for us all to be aware of what to avoid and what to say to avoid the most innocent of actions being turned against you!
 

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The road traffic act covers anywhere that is a "public place" which means anywhere that the public have right of access to by vehicle or on foot.

So a pub car park, is legally the same as the road as far as I am aware from the point of view of intention to drive or not.
 

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The road traffic act covers anywhere that is a "public place" which means anywhere that the public have right of access to by vehicle or on foot.

So a pub car park, is legally the same as the road as far as I am aware from the point of view of intention to drive or not.
Ouch... I often drink and sleep in my van/camper, with the keys on the shelf within easy reach... in a public place...

Generally on a campsite.I::D
 

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The road traffic act covers anywhere that is a "public place" which means anywhere that the public have right of access to by vehicle or on foot.

So a pub car park, is legally the same as the road as far as I am aware from the point of view of intention to drive or not.
Interesting point so what about a proper camp site?

Another thought if there are 2 of us, me and her, the van is set for the stop, so for example roof up and seats swivelled, and neither of us has the keys about our person (although they may be in the ignition to power the sound system) - what then?
 

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In the UK in general (Scotland being the exception) parking up overnight in a layby or any public place is deemed illegal. Rough camping is only allowed in Scotland.

Obviously anyone with a camper van does rough camp or overnight from time to time and mostly the Plod ignore it if you are just parked up and pulling off the next day. However if you are over the limit for drinking, they can breath test you and detain you as drunk in charge.

If you are parked up in a camp site for which you have paid. You are deemed to be off the public road and camping so the rules do not apply. In France you pay to use the Aires / Service areas and motorhomes are then deemed parked for the night, so a drink can be had. But as here if you just pull into a layby, they can ask for breath test.

So unless you are in paid for camping plot. Do not drink anything harder than a diet coke. T:
 

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Heres one for you and true story ,
A friend of mine had been out on the lash
He left it too late too get a cab so he went back to his car locked himself in and went too sleep
This didnt go well as it was a very frosty night and the temp was well below freezing so in his wisdom he started the car and turned on the heater
Couple of hours later he gets woken up by a knock at the window yep you guessed it a friendly policeman
He unlocked the car and the policeman turned off the car and took the keys and arrested my friend where he then slept in the cells .

Sometime later the court appearence came but in the meantime my mates solicitor had told him to contact the met office and get a report on the temprature that night it it turned out to be -10 this cost a few quid but it turned out to be worth it as the judge said normally that just having the keys in your possesion while drunk in a motor vehicle was an offence , but in this case the night was so cold that the judge said that this was extenuating circumstances and could have resulted in my friend getting ill or worse due to the extreme temps that this time he would let the charges go but that this was not normally the case in such an event so think yourself extremely lucky

So i would hide the keys if i was sleeping in a vehicle while worse for wear T:
 

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It's my understanding that you need to be in possession of the keys (I.E. capable of driving, even if incapable through drink) for the police to be able to charge you. Personally, I'd hide the keys very carefully if I was sleeping it off on public land. It's all subject to interpretation, but I can't see how you can be guilty if you have no means to start the vehicle. If there were 2 vans wild parking, the obvious answer would be to swap keys before going to sleep, or hide them outside the van (Under the bonnet perhaps?)

Just my thoughts
 

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As some one who wild camps a lot, heres a couple of easy ways around this.

pub scenario: if it has a field, with a gate, go on the field/track, close it, no public access then. sorted.

lay by: set the bed up (well down i guess) have blinds up, have a drink, get in van, go sleep. leave keys outside on a magnet under van, or hidden someplace,,yes ok you may not like that but deal with it. OR leave immob fob outside only. either way its not on your person. the bed shows intent to stay in a camped position, no intent to drive.

Police come and breathalyse you: you maybe over the limit, you maybe in your jim jams, they may arrest you,,,,but no reasonable court in the land will prosecute you.

OR there are these scenario's:

pub scenario: go the pub, have fun drink some beers/wine/vodka/whatever...go to the van, have a fiddle, pass out, no blinds up, keys in pocket, or in ignition. police come. your screwed.

lay by: have some tinnies, get in bed, keys in pocket, on the side, or in the ignition, go sleep, police come, your done for drunk in charge.

So its the small things that matter with regards to being prosecuted. In many of the above scenarios you could still get arrested, but not prosecuted, thats the key. Maybe take pictures for evidence incase they dont gather it.
 

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In the UK in general (Scotland being the exception) parking up overnight in a layby or any public place is deemed illegal.
I do not believe that to be accurate, can you tell me which law it actually breaks, as for it to be "deemed illegal" there has to be a law that it goes against, and I do not know of one, and my experience of interactions with the police when I have been wild camping is that they dont view it as illegal either.


Obviously anyone with a camper van does rough camp or overnight from time to time and mostly the Plod ignore it if you are just parked up and pulling off the next day. However if you are over the limit for drinking, they can breath test you and detain you as drunk in charge.
Yes its certainly a risk if you are in a car in a public place.


If you are parked up in a camp site for which you have paid. You are deemed to be off the public road and camping so the rules do not apply. In France you pay to use the Aires / Service areas and motorhomes are then deemed parked for the night, so a drink can be had. But as here if you just pull into a layby, they can ask for breath test.
With regards to a paid plot on a campsite, I dont know if that is still classed as a public place as it depends on if the public are allowed to wander around the campsite freely or if that is only for people who have paid to gain access to it.
But one thing I would be VERY confident of is that if it went to court then your ability to prove that you were not intending to drive would be very good, I cant imagine there is a court out there that would take someone who was paid to camp on an official site and say they werent planning on sleeping but planning on driving instead.



So unless you are in paid for camping plot. Do not drink anything harder than a diet coke. T:
Good advice.
 

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As some one who wild camps a lot, heres a couple of easy ways around this.

pub scenario: if it has a field, with a gate, go on the field/track, close it, no public access then. sorted.

lay by: set the bed up (well down i guess) have blinds up, have a drink, get in van, go sleep. leave keys outside on a magnet under van, or hidden someplace,,yes ok you may not like that but deal with it. OR leave immob fob outside only. either way its not on your person. the bed shows intent to stay in a camped position, no intent to drive.

Police come and breathalyse you: you maybe over the limit, you maybe in your jim jams, they may arrest you,,,,but no reasonable court in the land will prosecute you.

OR there are these scenario's:

pub scenario: go the pub, have fun drink some beers/wine/vodka/whatever...go to the van, have a fiddle, pass out, no blinds up, keys in pocket, or in ignition. police come. your screwed.

lay by: have some tinnies, get in bed, keys in pocket, on the side, or in the ignition, go sleep, police come, your done for drunk in charge.

So its the small things that matter with regards to being prosecuted. In many of the above scenarios you could still get arrested, but not prosecuted, thats the key. Maybe take pictures for evidence incase they dont gather it.

Yes I think some form of external access only to something required to drive like the key or immobiliser fob, would really help your case, although I am not convinced its 100% a get out of jail free card as ultimately you still have it with you, even if its in a magnetic box in the wheel arch etc.
 

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Interesting point so what about a proper camp site?

Another thought if there are 2 of us, me and her, the van is set for the stop, so for example roof up and seats swivelled, and neither of us has the keys about our person (although they may be in the ignition to power the sound system) - what then?
Then they ask the registered keeper who is the driver I guess.
At which point you say "we dont know till we wake in the morning and see who fancies driving"



One amusing little point, its a strange situation that if you are napping in the back of your car, and (just to make it very black and white) lets say the keys are in the ignition so the radio is then you are deemed to be in charge of the car.
If however I come and sit in your drivers seat, you then arent in charge anymore, I am.

So if I am giving you a lift home, and I get out at a petrol station to go for a or pay for fuel, but leave the radio on with the keys in the ignition then dont stay in the back of the car drunk or technically you are now in charge of it LOL:

Strange, but IMHO true!

Now when it got to court, the fact that someone else drove to the petrol station and is willing to state they were the one in charge of the vehicle would no doubt get it thrown out in your favour, but does the person need to actually be there to say the same?
If I text my mate and say "im at the pub carpark in my car keeping warm, but am over the limit so can you come and fetch me please" then would that be enough for a court?

If it would then what about instead of a text, simply a notice that says in the window "I am not intending to drive this vehicle, I am merely sleeping in it until sober enough to drive, and I have a breathalsyer in the glvoebox to check when that is the case", would a court take note of such a notice?


Its an interestingly grey area with not a huge amount of case law that I am aware of.
 
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