Can I get a DUI while driving on private property? 66 Answers as of June 02, 2013

While going to get my US Mail at 11pm at my Condo complex, I found a man staring into my car. I asked him what are you doing? I called 911 and took pictures of his motorcycle and license plate. Waited for Police to arrive. Told the police what happened, he asked me if I had been drinking I said, 'NO'. He asked me to do a field Sobriety check, 'I politely said NO, thank you'. He then put me under arrest and at the police station, took a blood test of .09 bac.

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Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
It would have to be proven that you drove your car immediately before the police arrived. If you didn't admit that and no one saw you drive then there would be insufficient proof. You can be convicted of a dui if you drove on private property.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/11/2011
The Law Firm of David Jolly
The Law Firm of David Jolly | David Jolly
You can get a DUI on private property (see Edmonds v. Otsby). If the private property is open to vehicular property (like a shopping mall parking lot or an apartment complex parking lot) then it is treated like a highway and yes, you can be guilty of the crime of DUI. That being said, if the officer did not observe you driving, the vehicle was not running, and you were located outside of your car you may have a defense to your charge.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 11/9/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
Yes, a DUI is one of a few charges one can get on private property while operating a vehicle.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 11/7/2011
Law Office of James Bordonaro
Law Office of James Bordonaro | James Albert Bordonaro
You may have a very good case. Good for you that you didn't talk to the cops. The cop would have to have had some probable cause to believe you had recently been out driving on the public's streets. Beyond that, he had to have some objective indications of your intoxication such as slurred speech or blood shot eyes. Without the field sobriety checks this is difficult to establish. The police report will be quite relevant. Also, did he wait the proper time (usually 20 minutes) before giving the breathalyzer and was the test done twice? Your bigger problem may be that the division of motor vehicles may still seek to suspend your license and the law may be more lax in finding intoxication even if the officer violated your rights.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 11/7/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
Yes. As long as you were driving a vehicle and the vehicle was on a public acess, you are subject to arrest for DUI. Unfortunately, driving around in the condo complex is not necessarily your private property. You do have a low BAC, but are still subject to conviction for DUI.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/4/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    First, from your question it appears you were not driving. So whether this happened on private property or not is not relevant.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC | Thomas A. Medford, Jr.
    Based on the facts as you have presented I believe you have valid defenses ton this charge and I urge you to seek the services of an attorney skilled in the defense of individuals charged with DUI to represent you in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    You can get a DUI on private property. However, it is not clear from your question whether you were actually driving! They need to have proof of actual volitional movement of your vehicle and when the driving occurred, to have any chance of proving a case against you. Hopefully you did not admit to driving. You need to call a lawyer who focuses on DUI right away. You have only 10 days from your arrest to contact the DMV to schedule a hearing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes you can if it was an area open to the public which is what it sounds like. You need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    Technically, there is a question of whether the road is a public road if it is open to the public or it is a private road. Apart from knowing anything else, there is at least a possible defense with regard to the character of the road. If you want to fight the case, and not just plead out, hire an attorney that will fight for you.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Arneson and Geffen
    Arneson and Geffen | Mark Arneson
    Under Minnesota Law, you can be charged with a DWI even if you are driving on private property. However, the facts in your case are very suspect, unless you actually told the officer you were driving. This is something you should fight.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
    You can be ticketed for DWI on private property, but there must be evidence that you were operating the vehicle while under the influence in order to prosecute/convict you of DWI.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    DUI can be anywhere in state, including private property. How do the police establish that you were driving?
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Yes, you can be charged with DUI when driving on private property.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Yes, you can get a OWI while driving on private property as long as it is a place open to the operation of motor vehicles. Another example would be a store parking lot.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Kenneth M. Hallum, Attorney at Law
    Kenneth M. Hallum, Attorney at Law | Kenneth M. Hallum
    DUI applies to private and public property. There a appears to be a possible issue with "driving." It does not sound like the officer witnessed you drive. It would be prudent to consult a DUI lawyer, to explore defenses to both the driving, and blood alcohol at the time of the unknown driving.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Driving under the influence is a driving offense that requires the State to prove you were over the limit and driving or in control of the vehicle.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC | Louis Leibowitz
    Yes, you can be convicted DUI while driving on private property. It sounds like there may be other issues in your case. You should contact a lawyer to prepare a proper defense.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You can get a DUI for driving on private property, in Illinois. However, if the officer did not SEE you driving, or sitting behind the wheel of the car, with the keys in the ignition, I am having a hard time figuring why you were charged with anything in the first place. Contact a good defense lawyer and fight the case if, in fact, you were not driving the car. I hope you have a witness to co-oberate your story.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Is it in an area open to the public? If so, they you can be prosecuted for DWI there. You need to hire a lawyer ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    No, but you can be charged with being drunk in public.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    It is possible to get a DUI in a condo complex parking lot or roads. When you applied for and received your license you agreed to submit to a BAC test if asked by an officer. If you refuse the take the test when asked you may lose your license for a year. The fact that it was you that called 911 has no bearing on the DUI arrest. It may be possible that you have a defense against the BAC reading. You need to consult with an attorney for help.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    From what I see you were not operating the vehicle so the charge can't stick.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Drinking and driving is like firing a gun at a moving train and hoping that no one gets hit by the bullets. Calling the police when you have been drinking and driving is equally foolish. Life is about making good decisions. You risk your life and the lives of thousands of innocent drivers when you get into a car drunk. It is cheaper and easier to call a taxi or get a ride from a friend. You can call Designated Driver, a service that will drive you home or anywhere you want in your own car. In order to be convicted of DWI they prosecutor has to prove that you "operated a vehicle on a public highway". A public highway can be an apartment complex parking lot under certain circumstances. Retain a good criminal attorney to represent you and you may be able to beat the case if there are only a few apartments and it was a small parking lot or private driveway. Also, the next time you see a man looking into your car do not confront him. He may be a criminal who assaults you or he may have an accomplice acting as a lookout who will attack you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    No, you cannot get arrested on private property. However, common places of apartment complexes are not private places.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    Yes, you can. It doesn't matter if you'd been driving on private or public property. However, you do need to have been observed driving.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes, this is a valid charge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Bruce Yerman, Attorney At Law
    Bruce Yerman, Attorney At Law | Bruce Yerman
    See Section 1192(7) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law: The provisions of this section[, which concern operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,] shall apply upon public highways, private roads open to motor vehicle traffic and *any other parking lot*. For the purposes of this section *"parking lot" shall mean any area or areas of private property, including a driveway, near or contiguous to and provided in connection with premises and used as a means of access to and egress from a public highway to such premises and having a capacity for the parking of four or more motor vehicles*. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any area or areas of private property comprising all or part of property on which is situated a one or two family residence. (Emphasis added.)
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
    Yes you can. The law was changed about 25 years ago to make DUI on private property equally serious. There may be an issue here as to whether the police officer had a legal right to arrest you. That issue can be raised by a motion to suppress the evidence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Nixon Ayemi | Nixon Ayeni
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    You can get charged with a DWI on any roadway in the State of Minnesota. However the police have to have evidence that you were operating or in physical control of the vehicle to charge you, and have to have probable cause to believe you were under the influence before they can arrest you.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
    Yes, if private property is open to the public. In your case though the officer needs to see you driving.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes you can. Private or public property is irrelevant. However, with a 0.09, you do have a very decent case, especially when you were smart enough to have refused the FST's. Contact a DUI specialist, and do it soon because you have only 10 days to save your license.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    The DWI/DUI statute applies anywhere in the state of Minnesota including private property. You did not say in your question where you were relative to your vehicle when the officer arrived. This information could be important to determine defenses available to you.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    I doubt that the road you were on is "private" such that the police would have no jurisdiction, so the answer would be "Yes."
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    You have very good defenses available to you given the facts as you've described them.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Yes you can catch a DWI on private property.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The modern legal trend no longer distinguishes between public and private roadways for DUI purposes. Technically, a bar parking lot or even a golf course would constitute private property but still falls within the Minnesota Statutes as a roadway for DWI purposes.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Based on the facts you present, you have a defense in your case which could result in a dismissal of your case. However, it is not automatic, and may have to be accomplished through a trial and the jury would need to believe your presentation of the facts. Without a witness seeing you drive, and without you admitting that you were driving, there is little to show that you were driving a vehicle in this case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Alfred Law Firm
    Alfred Law Firm | Janice Alfred
    I do not believe the charge has anything to do with where you were driving but were you driving while under the influence of alcohol. My question is, did the police actually see you drive the car? My advice is to consult with a DUI attorney to see if you may have a viable defense to the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Jerry Lee Wallentine Jr.
    You may have a potential suppression issue. Yes, I have seen many people cited for DUI while operating a vehicle on private property.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Todd Landgren, Professional Law Corp.
    Todd Landgren, Professional Law Corp. | Todd Landgren
    Yes, no exception to private property. However, your case is VERY defensible!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Levine & McHenry LLC
    Levine & McHenry LLC | Matthew McHenry
    Technically no-one of the elements of a DUII charge is that the vehicle be operated on a public highway or a place that the public has access to. That being said, you could be charged with "Attempted DUII," a charge the Oregon Court of Appeals recently confirmed is valid. The state may try to prove that even though you were on private property at the time, you intended to drive onto public property. Not saying the state would win, but it is something to be aware of.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Stephen P. Dempsey
    Law Office of Stephen P. Dempsey | Stephen P. Dempsey
    Yes you can. But your story sounds like you may have some defenses that an experience DUI attorney could evaluate and perhaps defend your case.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Michael Edwards, Attorney at Law
    Michael Edwards, Attorney at Law | Michael Edwards
    Yes. Request a driver license hearing within 10 days of your arrest, hire a good criminal defense attorney, and fight the case. You have some good arguments, but the mere fact that you were on private property is not going to save you. You can be DUI ANYWHERE and be arrested for it.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    The guy on the motorcycle was probably the guy who observed your driving and called police. As long as someone witnessed you driving on public land, you will be liable for DUI. The good news is you had a low BAC so a good lawyer may be able to get you a good plea deal. C
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You were not driving on property solely owned by you. It is owned by your condo association. It is not your sole, private property. You are probably subject to prosecution on the dui charge.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Under Oregon law, a DUII can be committed in any place "open to the public." A condominium parking lot probably counts, but it depends on the details, like whether there are signs limiting the lot to residents and guests. As you explain the facts, you didn't drive at all. In that case, you aren't guilty. But the police, or a jury, might believe you had been driving based on other evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    Yes. The fact that you were driving on private property is no defense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    Yes, you can be arrest on private property. However, California requires actual movement of the vehicle in order to convict for a DUI. If you never drove, and the officer never saw you driving, then you have an excellent case to have the charges reduced or dismissed. You should contact an attorney immediately. Also, don't just sit back and do nothing waiting for your court date to come up. If you fail to request a DMV hearing within the allowed 10 days (from date of arrest), your license will automatically be suspended for a minimum of 4 months.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs | Craig Gibbs
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    Yes, you can get a DUI on private property.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    They will somehow have to prove that you were operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated on a public road. If you have been charged with a DUI make sure you retain an experienced DUI attorney to represent you. At least have one review the police report for any errors or problems that could get the charges reduced or dismissed. It is an investment that you will not regret.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    If you were on Condo property it is likely considered a public highway. You probably can be charged and convicted of DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Rizio & Nelson
    Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
    Yes. DUI has two elements, 1) driving a vehicle, 2) with a BAC of >0.08. There is no requirement that you operated the vehicle on a public road to be found guilty.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C.
    Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C. | Christopher L. Hoglin
    To answer your question, YES, you can get a DUI on private property. Most commercial property owners post signs informing the public that the California Vehicle Code is enforced on their property. Another issue with the detail in your question though, reveals a great defense to a charge of DUI. It is not enough that the police prove you were above a 0.08% BAC when they found you. The District Attorney will have to also prove that you were driving with that BAC level. According to your story, you were not driving when the police arrived. They have to be able to prove your BAC was at or above 0.08% at the time of driving. Unless there are any witnesses to your driving, or you admitted to recent driving just prior to the police arriving, then it will be nearly impossible for the DA to prove you were driving, and thus you should be able to beat the DUI charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
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