Man allegedly asleep in car charged with impaired driving

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

If you drink or use drugs and decide to take a nap in a vehicle, you can still be charged under the Highway Traffic Act with impaired driving.

RNC news 9

One 33-year-old man was charged with impaired driving Tuesday, along with other related traffic act violations after the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary received a call around 5:20 p.m. of an impaired driver in the centre of St. John's.

Upon arrival, the RNC said police officers located a man asleep in a vehicle.

Through the investigation, the man was charged with impaired driving, driving while prohibited, driving while suspended, breach of two court orders and possessing stolen property.

The accused was held at the city lockup overnight to appear in court this morning.

Section 60.02 of the Highway Traffic Act allows RNC to charge a person with impaired driving, even if they are asleep in a vehicle, because they still have "care or control of that vehicle."

Here's the section:

Request for surrender of driver’s licence at roadside

60.02 Where a peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the ability of a

             (a)  driver of a motor vehicle;

             (b)  person who has care or control of a motor vehicle;

             (c)  novice driver of a motor vehicle; or

             (d)  novice driver who has care or control of a motor vehicle

to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by a drug, or a combination of a drug or alcohol, the peace officer shall request the person referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) to surrender his or her driver’s licence and that person shall immediately surrender his or her driver’s licence.


Geographic location: St. John's

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Samuel J.
    February 03, 2016 - 20:07

    Some interesting viewpoints here. I'm inclined to agree with those who believe either the section of the Act is misguided or its application by police is overly aggressive. The phrase 'care and control of that vehicle' invites confusion. If the intent of the legislation was to say that, unless sober, I can't be in a car in which the keys are present unless the keys are in the possession of another sober adult, then that's what the legislation should say. What constitutes care and control? If I'm ten feet from the car with the keys? If I'm 30 feet from it in my living room? The criminal code, if not the traffic act, often turns on intent. I'm not sure napping in a stationary vehicle without the engine running shows sufficient intent to commit a crime. It could constitute evidence of a conscious decision to avoid committing a crime. While I might hesitate on the impaired charge, I'm less accommodating on the other charges. Why? Because I think there is a reasonable assumption to be made that, were it not for the fact I am drunk, I would be driving that car in the full knowledge I am legally barred from doing so. This is not being sympathetic to drunk drivers. We need tough measures to curb it. But the law must be unambiguous and it should provide some basis for differentiating - at least in terms of the punitive remedies - between the intoxicated person who blatantly operates a motor vehicle and the person who, however imperfectly, demonstrates a reticence to do so.

  • Richard Legault
    February 03, 2016 - 10:37

    Dumb, totally dumb, DUI means Driving under the Influence. Is that not clear to the police? if not here's the definition The crime of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs

  • Alex
    February 03, 2016 - 10:31

    Getting railed for dui when you're sleeping in the car is outrageous! Prohibition aside, I've seen this happen to other people. No way home, so you sleep it off in the only safe and affordable place you have, your car. What is wrong with our society that someone gets that charge for being a responsible adult? Kudos for not driving when you're smashed guy.

  • Rod
    February 03, 2016 - 10:16

    Better than Under the Criminal Code of Canada where you will acquire a Criminal record as a result. Here's that section: 253 (1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not, (a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or (b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

  • nfldborn
    February 03, 2016 - 09:25

    Ask the Coates family what they think of this ...

  • The real Calvin
    February 03, 2016 - 08:42

    They actually can't charge you if you don't have the keys to the vehicle on you or in the vehicle. If you get liquored up and want to sleep in your car, hide the keys nearby.

  • dacite
    February 03, 2016 - 07:23

    When impaired, do not sleep in your car til sober, you will be charged. In stead drive home intoxicated since it does not make any difference. How dumb are the police?

    • Fallsview
      February 03, 2016 - 08:53

      Umm, it's not the police that make the laws -- the people we elect make the laws. Anyway, if you're going out drinking, what are you doing taking your car? That goes double for buddy in this story, since his license was already suspended.

    • Tyler
      February 03, 2016 - 09:48

      The article doesn't mention where he was. If he's outside a bar, then this is stupid. Alternately: if he was pulled over on the side of Prince Philip Drive, this makes a lot of sense.