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Is it illegal to sleep in my car in a private business parking lot?

Tulsa, OK |

I want to live out of my car for a while in order to have more money to pay old debts. I am aware that there are many illagalities tied to sleeping in your car in a public place such as a public parking lot or a park or a beach. I work for a small coffee shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The shopping strip in which it is located is privately owned by my boss. What I need to know is if I were to get a signed letter from him giving me permission to sleep in his parking lot; would I be legal in doing so? Thank you for your time.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. If you have the owner's permission, you could do that. It might be helpful to have the letter, in order to satisfy any inquiries you might get from the cops.


  2. I am unaware of any law against sleeping in your car, unless of course you are driving. The issue here is where your car is parked at the time you are sleeping. In other words, are you violating any laws such as criminal trespass? Since, from what you've said, you have the owner's permission to park and sleep on his property, criminal trespass is not in play. On the other hand, there may be a city ordinance or other law that forbids sleeping in your car at a shopping strip, though I've heard that Walmart allows this for RVs. Plus, if there are other tenants in the shopping strip, they may have lessee rights that further complicate the matter. My suggestion is that you first contact the local authorities to address your concerns.

    DISCLAIMER: This should not be construed as legal advice and is informational only.