Any person who is accused of being in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit through drink or drugs will have a defence to the charge if he can show that at the time of the offence there was no likelihood of his driving the motor vehicle. The court will look at various factors to decide whether this was the case or not, including whether the keys were in the ignition, whether the car was running etc. These do not conclusively prove that the person was in charge of the vehicle for the purposes of the law, because the intention to drive must be proven according to the facts.
There is no precise definition as to what constitutes being in charge of a motor vehicle. It seems to be assumed that somebody must be in charge of a vehicle at any given time, unless the car is locked away in a garage or the owner, who has the only keys, is miles away from it . If the defendant is the owner or in possession of the vehicle or has recently driven it, he or she is in charge, unless he or she has put the vehicle in the charge of someone else ; control over the car keys is a good indication of being in charge . If the defendant is in none of these categories, but is seated inside the vehicle or is in any other way involved with it, the test as to whether he or she is in charge of it rests upon consideration of all the circumstances, including:
(a) exactly where is the defendant in the vehicle, or how far is he or she from it?
(b) what was the defendant doing at the relevant time?
© has the defendant in his or her possession a key to fit the ignition?
(d) is there any evidence of an intention to take control of the car by driving or otherwise?
(e) is any other person in, at, or near the vehicle and if so, how does he or she satisfy any of these tests?
The court is not limited to these factors and will reach its decision as a question of fact and degree . The defendant can be 'in charge' of a vehicle when neither driving nor attempting to drive it. In DPP v Bate  the justices acquitted the defendant on a submission of no case to answer because they were satisfied from what he had told the police that he had no intention of driving. A retrial was ordered. The defendant was clearly in charge of the vehicle. It was for him to prove, by calling relevant evidence, that there was no likelihood of him driving while his alcohol level was over the legal limit.
edited out the boring case law....
bottom line is that most sensible coppers wouldn't bother nicking you for it if you explained the reasons for sleeping in a vehicle designed for sleeping in rather than a car and unlikelyhood of driving but sensible coppers are a dieing breed. close the curtains and how would they know you were in there?
Last edited by duvet
on Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ex-network rail 2007 mk7 100 LWB 350 8 seat.
buses stop at bus stations, trains stop at train stations....... on my desk i've got a workstation