Can a DUI on private property be dropped? 58 Answers as of July 08, 2013

A friend just got caught drunk driving on a two-track trail. Although unknown currently, if the two-track was private property can the DUI be dropped?

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Law Office of Edward J. Blum
Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
Not for that reason. Private or public road doesn't make a difference.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/21/2011
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Quite possibly yes since you have to operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway. I don't know what you mean by "unknown currently." You would have to somehow prove it was not a public road before this could occur.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/20/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
The statute provides that it is unlawful, if you are under the influence, "to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access." So if it's on private property that is not accessible to the public, there is a real argument that you violated no law.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/17/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
I would need more information but he may have a defense since it's not a public highway or road.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/17/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
The court may not drop the DUI but may require that the matter be tried. The isssue as to whether the property is private or public property, as well as whether the person charged was DUI, are issues for the Court to decide.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    Yes if the private property is not a "premise open to the public." Under Oregon law, a DUII can be prosecuted if it occurred on a "public highway" (ie a street etc) or "premises open to the public." An example of premises open to the public would be a shopping center parking lot but a private road could be as well if it connects with a public road and is commonly used by the public.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    ATV and OHRV's do not require a road for a DWI charge to be brought. However, if the property is the person there may be issues which can lead to good defenses. How do police come into contact with operator.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    DUIs are driving on public areas or those open to the public. The answer is maybe I need more facts to give an informed answer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Russman Law
    Russman Law | Ryan Russman
    If the State cannot prove that you drove on a "public way" then the case should not result in a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/11/2013
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    The Minnesota DWI law does apply to private property. You can be charged with a DWI for drunk driving on private property, lawns, parking lots, lakes and rivers. The drunk driving laws are always interpreted liberally by the courts in favor of public safety. A DWI charge can not be dismissed for drunk driving on private property but could be dismissed on other legal grounds. The police may not have had reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to justify the stop of the vehicle or the police may not have had probable cause to justify the arrest. If this is the case, the blood alcohol test result obtained by the police can not be used against you at trial. You should always have your case reviewed for possible defenses by an experienced DWI defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    This would need to be evaluated in light of all the evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The statute prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle under the influence upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles. If the person was driving in an area other than those listed in the statute it would be possible to file a motion to quash.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It can be, but it is unlikely. It is still a crime to drive on any land, private or public, while intoxicated.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    McCormack Law Office
    McCormack Law Office | Erin Michael McCormack
    An inidividaul can be convicted of a DUI or DWI on his own property. In fact an individual doesn't even have to be driving to sustain a conviction (there are cases on persons simply sitting in a car in their driveway with the ignition on). I've also seen a individual successfully prosecuted for driving a lawn mower while intoxicated on their own property. Retain an attorney as soon as possible to handle the charge. If you can't afford an attorney, make application with the public defender's office for representation. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Night Life Lawyers
    Night Life Lawyers | Joshua Aldabbagh
    The answer to your question: it depends. If (1) the road in question is NOT a highway (a street, road, alley or thoroughfare of any kind used by the public), and (2) the public does NOT have access to it, then yes, the DUI could be dismissed. My firm offers free consultations, your friend should contact an attorney to discuss this and other possible defenses to the charges against him/her.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. I believe that you are correct.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    It does not matter if the DUI was committed on private property or not. The same way that an assault on private property is a crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    A person who operates on a way open to the public while under the influence or affected by alcohol or drugs is guilty of DUI. That's the law chapter and verse so if the track is open to public use he can be found guilty.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    No, DUI in Illinois applies to operating or driving a motor vehicle anywhere in the State, not just on a public highway. The law was changed several years ago so if you are on your driveway listening to the radio you can be arrested for DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    The deciding factor in this matter will be whether the trail on private property can be construed as a way or place to which the public has access as invitees or licensees. This will be dependent on the location of the trail, its ownership, its customary use, and its accessibility to the public, among other things. As with any DUI case, your friend should retain a criminal defense attorney who handles these matters. The penalties for conviction are serious and their effects long lasting.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    A DUI can be prosecuted even if it occurs on private property.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq.
    Law Office of Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. | Elizabeth B. Carpenter
    No, because in legal theory the public's safety is compromised whether or not it is public or private property. I had a case in which my client was arrested for a DWI in a parking lot. The case was eventually dismissed by the prosecution, but the reason for the dismissal had nothing to do with the issue of private property.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
    In Louisiana the statute does not limit DUI to public roads or property. So yes, you can be charged with DUI on private property.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You do not say who owns the property. You also do not say how the person got to the private property. Presumably, the person drove there. Of so, was the person observed driving under the influence before he entered private land and was the arrest made on private land, with the officer having followed him there. If the answer to these questions is "yes", then yes the person can be charged.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
    There is no jurisdiction to charge for DUI on private property. However, he could be charged with criminal or simple trespass.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC | Ronald Aronds
    This is a very complicated question. Although the law says that DWI applies to any area where a person is driving, the question in this case would be why were the police on the private property in the first place.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    To be convicted of DWI in New York State you must be operating a vehicle, on a public highway while you are intoxicated to the extent that you are incapable of operating the vehicle in a reasonable and prudent manner. If you are not on a public highway and the prosecutor cannot prove that element of the offense then you will be found not guilty at trial.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    DUI is possible anywhere in the state, but based on the idea that this was off-road, what kind of vehicle? 4x4 truck or motocycle or ATV or what? There are different rules on DUI for off-road vehicles that are not cars, trucks or motorcycles. The other issue is if the police had a right to be on the property.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    I assume that you are asking if the DUI statute applies on private property. Yes, it applies anywhere "within this state". Minnesota Statutes Sec. 169A.20 Subd. 1.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You can't get a DUI on private property, but you need a skilled DWI attorney to protect you and sell it to the DA.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    bark & karpf
    bark & karpf | peter bark
    DUI in New York requires that it be on a public road or parking lot or one open to the public.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    Where a DUI was alleged to have occurred can affect the state's ability to successfully prosecute the matter. Hire an aggressive attorney to use every possible defense for you.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    No. DUI laws apply even on private property.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    If the police wrote your friend for a DUI, whether public or private property, I do not see the case being dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    The key word in drunk driving is driving. Your chances of having the charge dropped when the private property is not your friend's property is slight.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Of course any charge can be dropped. Whether or not it is subject to enforced DWI laws depends onfactors other than just whether it is private property."Public place" means any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops. So, the question is IF it is private property, is it open to the public as stated above (which is a direct quote of the definition in the code.)
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Levine & McHenry LLC
    Levine & McHenry LLC | Matthew McHenry
    Yes-DUII is only a crime if the vehicle was travelling on a public highway or premises open to the public. If this was on private land, your friend has a good case for dismissal.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Todd Landgren, Professional Law Corp.
    Todd Landgren, Professional Law Corp. | Todd Landgren
    There is no difference between public and private property for DUI's anymore. However, prosecutors are more likely to deal private property cases.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    It CAN, but it probably won't be dropped. Georgia's DUI statute is not limited to public roads.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Nope, even a farmer driving a tractor in his own field can be charged.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers | Andrew D. Myers
    Maybe maybe not, depends largely if the public had a right of access. i.e. - if members of the public can drive across the track/trail whatever. These things are very specifically fact driven and you may have a valid case for a motion to dismiss. You need to retain an experienced DWI attorney who has done these before and knows the case law, beyond the statutes.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    How would the person have been caught DUI on private property? The police do not patrol on private property Think about what you are asking.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/11/2013
    Kenneth M. Hallum, Attorney at Law
    Kenneth M. Hallum, Attorney at Law | Kenneth M. Hallum
    Unfortunately in California the DUI laws apply everywhere, however it does raise many questions, how and why law enforcement was there, what did they observe, and so on. A consultation with a DUI lawyer would be wise.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    You can get a DUI even if you are on private property.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    PALMER | GEORGE, PLLC
    PALMER | GEORGE, PLLC | Brandie J. Rouse
    An element of the crime of DUI is driving on a public road. If the driving occurred on a private road, there is no DUI under the statute.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC | Louis Leibowitz
    In Maryland, a DUI can be committed on private property. They happen in parking lots all the time.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    If it was purely private and not open for public use under the definition of "a public highway," he cannot be charged with DWI. DWI has to be committed on a "public highway" under the definition for such in the Vehicle and Traffic Law.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Under Oregon law, the issue is whether the location is "open to the public." If it was not, then the case might be dropped, or the defendant can win at trial. But for first-time offenders, it's often a better idea to do diversion (treatment in exchange for dismissal) rather than risking a trial, even if the trial prospects are good. Your friend should talk to a lawyer about it.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Baner and Baner
    Baner and Baner | Jonathan Baner
    If someone is drunk (.75 ABV), is firing an automatic weapon into a crowd of people during a 4th of July parade, while driving a tank over an orphanage, then the charge CAN BE DROPPED. HOWEVER, stupid point aside - it is the responsibility of the prosecutor to decide if it is appropriate to charge or drop charges. It is not a defense that someone was on private property.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    It does not matter if the DWI occurred on a public or private roadway. Your license prohibits you from driving, operating, or being in physical control of a motor vehicle anywhere within the state.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Anderson Walsh PLLC
    Anderson Walsh PLLC | STACI LYNN ANDERSON
    The Idaho statute says that driving on private property open to the public while under the influence of alcohol is prohibited. Look for No Trespassing signs, fences, or other such barriers. But if the two-track path is regularly open to the public, your friend may have difficulty in asserting a defense.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/20/2012
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    If the officer does not have a lawful reason to conduct a traffic stop and/or does not have authority to be present at the scene, anything that stems from that traffic stop such as a DUI investigation should be excluded from the District Attorney's case. In your friend's situation, if the officer did not have a lawful reason to pull him/her over then his case should be completely dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi | Elliott Zarabi
    No, unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy for your friend...
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    No, this one threw me when I first started practicing law. I assumed that driving on private property would not be illegal. However the case law is clear that due to public safety policy it is illegal regardless of whether it is private property or a public road.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No. A DUI is movement anywhere, on any property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    Anything "can be dropped." If you are really asking whether DUI must be on a highway, or cannot be on private property, to be punished, the answer is no - DUI is illegal whether on private or public property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/12/2011
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