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Is It Illegal to Sleep in Your Car?

  • Things To Know
  • Barrett Mohrmann
  • 5 minutes

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As every state has its own laws, the legality of sleeping in your car can change from state to state. An individual may decide to spend the night in their vehicle for various reasons. One reason is that there is no place for them to sleep. But there are some states where local and state regulations make this illegal.  

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However, most places don’t restrict this because this would be completely insensitive to homeless people with nowhere else to go. Travel junkies who like to camp in their own vehicles just for the kicks, those who don’t have a place to go, people who don’t wanna book a hotel when they are going around for a trip, etc. There may be a million reasons why you’re sleeping in your car.¬†

The number of people who sleep overnight in their cars has increased dramatically during the past several years. Because of this, many municipalities are revising their parking policies. 

Laws in each state for parking overnight 

Those thinking about transitioning to living in an RV or a vehicle may be curious about the legality of doing so in each state. 

Alabama РNot Permitted 
Alaska РNo specific laws in place 
Arizona РPermitted, as long as occupants are in the vehicle 
Arkansas РPermitted only for safety purposes and not for recreation 
California РNo parking overnight permitted, eight-hour limit at rest stops 
Colorado РNot Permitted 
Connecticut РNot Permitted 
Delaware РNo camping or parking overnight, four-hour limit at rest stops 
Florida РNo camping or parking overnight, three-hour limit at rest stops 
Georgia РNot Permitted 
Hawaii РNot Permitted 
Idaho Р10-hour limit at rest stops, no camping or parking overnight permitted 
Illinois РNo camping or parking overnight, three-hour limit at rest stops 
Indiana РNot Permitted 
Iowa РOnly permitted for one night under special circumstances 
Kansas РOnly allowed for one night only, no camping outside the vehicle 
Kentucky РNo camping or parking overnight, four-hour limit at rest stops 
Louisiana РNot Permitted 
Maine РNot Permitted 
Maryland РNo camping or parking overnight, three-hour limit at rest stops 
Massachusetts РNot Permitted 
Michigan РNo camping or parking overnight, four-hour limit at rest stops 
Minnesota РNo camping or parking overnight, four-hour limit at rest stops  
Mississippi РPermitted as long as occupants are inside the vehicle 
Missouri РPermitted as long as occupants are inside the vehicle 
Montana РPermitted as long as occupants are inside the vehicle 
Nebraska РNo camping or parking overnight, 10-hour limit at rest stops 
Nevada РPermitted, 24-hour limit 
New Hampshire РNo camping or parking overnight, four-hour limit at rest stops 
New York РNo camping or parking overnight, three-hour limit at rest stops 
North Carolina РNo camping or parking overnight, four-hour limit at rest stops 
North Dakota РPermitted, no camping 
New Jersey РPermitted in some areas 
New Mexico РPermitted, 24-hour limit 
Ohio РNo camping or parking overnight, three-hour limit at rest stops for unattended vehicles 
Oklahoma РPermitted, no camping 
Oregon РPermitted at rest stops with a 12-hour limit, no camping outside the vehicle. 
Pennsylvania РNo camping or parking overnight, two-hour limit at rest stops 
Rhode Island РPermitted, no camping 
South Carolina РNot Permitted 
South Dakota РNo camping or parking overnight, four-hour limit at rest stops 
Tennessee РNo camping or parking overnight, two-hour limit at rest stops 
Texas РPermitted for 24 hours, no camping outside the vehicle 
Utah – Parking overnight prohibited, except at law enforcement’s discretion¬†
Vermont РNot Permitted 
Virginia РNot Permitted 
Washington РNo camping, 10-hour limit at rest stops 
West Virginia РPermitted, no camping 
Wisconsin РNot Permitted 
Wyoming РNo camping or extended stays; sleeping in your car is only permitted when doing so for safety reasons. 

When does it become illegal to sleep in your car? 

Regardless of the rules, depending on the context, it can also be illegal to sleep in the car sometimes.

When the property is privately owned, the legality is completely in the hands of the owner. He can request you to leave the premises. It is better to leave the premises if you can potentially land yourself in a lawsuit. 

Driving under the influence is also a problem. Anyone under the influence, seated in the driver’s seat, with the keys in the ignition, and otherwise capable of driving the vehicle also falls into this category. Anyone under the influence, seated in the driver’s seat, with the keys in the ignition, and otherwise capable of driving the vehicle falls into this category.¬†

It is also prohibited by some local laws. It is recommended that motorists double-check parking signs at rest areas, parking lots, and main thoroughfares to determine if they permit extended parking. Some cities in some states do not allow extended parking. 

Places people are allowed to sleep in their car 

  • Designated Overnight Parking Areas¬†
  • Highway Rest Areas¬†
  • Truck Stops (with prior permission)¬†
  • Private Property (with prior permission)¬†

Precautions to take if you have to sleep in your car 

  • Never Leave the Motor Running¬†
  • Choose a Parking Space Carefully and Check the Parking Signs¬†
  • Safeguard your belongings¬†
  • Get Car Insurance¬†

Taking care of your car is as important as the other things involved in owning a car. Of course, insurance is also a part of that maintenance.

No matter what your car type is, insurance keeps your vehicle and mind at ease. Reach out to us to get premium insurance at affordable rates. Get an insurance quote today.  

Save on car insurance

 


Here’s more info on top-rated airport parking,¬†the best parking spots in your city, affordable¬†auto insurance, easy¬†auto refinance,¬†and¬†high-quality car washes near you.


 

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