Can I get a DUI if I was on private property? 39 Answers as of November 20, 2010

I was arrested for a DUI earlier this month. I collided with another car while I was on property that my friend owns. This is the same property where his house is. I had permission to be on the property. The person who I hit called the police. They came and gave me a DUI and took me to jail. Can they legally charge me with DUI even if I was on private property?

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The Barrix Law Firm
The Barrix Law Firm | Jason Barrix
Yes, if yo operate a vehicle in a place open to the public. Driveways, parking lots all count. The only question would be gated areas not accessible to the public.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/20/2010
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
I am afraid it is not a defense. If you were only being charged with being drunk in public then this would matter. But whether or not you're in public is not an element of driving under the influence.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/19/2010
Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
Yes. Just because you are on private property does not exonerate you from criminal liability. Otherwise, persons could have drugs, guns, and engage in all kinds of illegal activities on their private property, and not face liability. The DWI is designed to protect citizens from being injured by a drunk person behind the wheel of a car. This appears to be what occurred.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/18/2010
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
A few years ago it would not have been possible, but the law has been changed and now the cases are prosecuted. For more information or to retain our services call
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/18/2010
The Law Office of Matt A. Stockdale, PLLC
The Law Office of Matt A. Stockdale, PLLC | Matt A. Stockdale
A DWI can only occur on a public vehicular area. I would need additional information to determine whether this property qualifies or not.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 11/18/2010
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    It depends on the date of the DWI. The laws in Missouri changed recently, and some of the loopholes have been eliminated. You should probably consult an attorney privately.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 11/18/2010
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    In Colorado it does not matter if the driving occurred on public or private property - you can still be charged with DUI. You should have a lawyer review your case for possible other defenses.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/18/2010
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    If you were operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway then you can be charged with a DUI. For example, if I am driving down the public road and turn into a driveway, which is private property, and collide with a car, then I can be charged with DUI because I was operating the vehicle on a public roadway. Hope this helps. If you have been charged with a DUI, call an experienced DUI attorney right away becuase the consequences are very high and it is much too difficult to navigate through the process alone.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/18/2010
    Jackson White, PC
    Jackson White, PC | Jeremy Geigle
    The most basic Arizona DUI is defined as being in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state while under the influence, if impaired to the slightest degree. Independent of whether on private land, county land, federal land, Indian land, this statute can be used to charge a person who drives while intoxicated. There may be jurisdictional questions at play with some of the examples listed, however, there is no protection from a DUI charge by remaining on private land. When an accident occurs, law enforcement typically looks for aggravating factors including excessive speed, intoxication by liquor or drugs, and even distracted or reckless driving. A simple traffic accident can quickly turn into a crime if an aggravating factor is present. The influence of alcohol can turn a misdemeanor DUI into a felony aggravated assault.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/18/2010
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Short answer is yes. Fact you were on private property makes no real difference, unless the car you where driving was built on the private property and it was not connected to a public road.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 11/18/2010
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You do not identify which state this happened in, but I can encourage you to consult with and retain a good, experienced criminal defense lawyer in your community as soon as possible to help you. As a former prosecutor, I recall prosecuting some DUI cases where the circumstantial evidence, or a confession by the defendant, indicated that the motor vehicle had been operated on a highway. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/18/2010
    The Connelly Firm P.C.
    The Connelly Firm P.C. | Thomas Connelly
    Probably not, but I need more facts in order to give you a better answer.

    In PA, a DUI is defined in the vehicle code as a Serious Traffic Offense. A Serious Traffic Offense, according to 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3101, must be committed on a "highway" or a "trafficway". A highway is defined as:

    "the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. The term includes a roadway open to the use of the public for vehicular travel on grounds of a college or university or public or private school or public or historical park." 75 Pa.C.S.A. 102.

    A traffic way is defined as: "the entire width between property lines or other boundary lines of every way or place of which any part is open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel as a matter of right or custom." 75 Pa.C.S.A. 102.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 11/18/2010
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Yes, if there is credible evidence that you were probably in the same or similar intoxicated state when you drove on a public road or highway in order to get to this piece of private property. Of course, at your trial you could argue that that was certainly not the case.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 11/17/2010
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs | Craig Gibbs
    Yes, you can still be charged with a DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 11/17/2010
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Yes, you can be arrested for DUI anywhere in the state of Illinois, not just on a public highway. Also, you can get one by being behind the steering wheel with the keys in the ignition and on your personal driveway!
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/17/2010
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Depends on: (1)what the DUI statute in your state says; (2) how case law interprets that statute; and (3) what your attorney can argue to a prosecutor, judge or jury.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/17/2010
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    Yes, even if you were on private property they can charge you with a DUI.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/7/2010
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Minnesota DWI laws make no distinction between public and private roadways. As a result, a person may be charged for operating a motor vehicle on their own property or the property of a private business.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/7/2010
    Law Office of Cotter C. Conway
    Law Office of Cotter C. Conway | Cotter C. Conway
    You must be operating a motor vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access to be properly charged with a DUI. Thus, unless your friend allows the general public access to that property or the portion of that property where the accident occurred (i.e. an easement), then you cannot be charged with DUI. Call me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/7/2010
    Anderson & Carnahan
    Anderson & Carnahan | Stephen Anderson
    In Colorado a driver can be charged with DUIeven on private property. Talk to a knowledgeable attorney about your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/7/2010
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    Unfortunately, I do not think it matters that you were on private property. The question is whether you were driving.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/7/2010
    The Law Offices of Robert A. Levine
    The Law Offices of Robert A. Levine | Michael G. Levine
    The modern trend in most states is to no longer distinguish between public and private roadways for OWI purposes. It is not safe to assume that just because you are on private property, you are immune from an OWI arrest or conviction. I would need more information to specifically address your question. This is for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. I recommend contacting a local experienced OWI attorney. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 10/7/2010
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    It has to be a public highway,you may be able to have the charges dismissed, call me if you need an attorney John Carney
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes, they can, as long as they can prove movement of the vehicle. But this type of case is usually easier to defend, since no actual bad driving was observed by a police officer. You need a good DUI lawyer to present your case to the prosecutor in a way that justifies a dismissal/reduction of charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam | Ramona Hallam
    Yes.The police can arrest you and you can be charged with a DUI on private property as well as on public property. As long as you are intoxicated and in control of your vehicle, private property does not matter. Best Regards,
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    In California the answer is yes. The statute merely reads that it is illegal for a person under the influence to drive a vehicle. There is no longer any reference to public street or highway. It does not even have to be a "motor" vehicle. You could be charged for drunk bicycling. Additionally, you have the accident which falls under VC 23153.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    Yes but they cannot request that you take the breathe test.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Yes, you can be arrested for a DUI on private property even if you were invited there. You would most likely be OK if you had not caused an accident. It would be like being invited into a home and killing a other guest and being arrested for murder.

    Contact me for a free consultation to discuss your defenses and options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2010
    Hale Law Group
    Hale Law Group | Joshua D. Hale
    Yes. You can be charged with DUI on private property. You need an attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2010
    The Law Office of Denis White
    The Law Office of Denis White | Denis Hurley White Jr.
    Yes, you can receive a DUI even if you were on private property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2010
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Can they? They already did. You were driving, hit a car and caused damage while under the influence. You should not be surprised to be arrested, any more than if it happened in the Wal-Mart private property parking lot with their implied permission to use the lot for parking. You face potential jail, fines, etc. If you are serious about hiring counsel to try to keep you out of jail, and if this is in Southern California, feel free to contact me. You also will likely receive a claim on your insurance by the other driver. If you do not have insurance to cover that, you will have to also hire the attorney to defend that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2010
    Law Office of John Stanko
    Law Office of John Stanko | John Stanko
    The simple answer is yes, you can still be charged with a DUI.

    Call me if you want to schedule a free consultation and discuss possible representation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2010
    Criminal Defense, Inc.
    Criminal Defense, Inc. | Chad Lewin
    Yes you can be charged with DUI. The elements for the DUI are that you were (1) driving; and(2) while under the influence of alcohol/drugs and/or with a .08 percent or higher. Call me for a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2010
    Robert P. Jarvis, PC
    Robert P. Jarvis, PC | David Anderson
    DUI is not restricted to a public street or highway. However, there are many factors that may impact the outcome of a particular case.

    Legal matters such DUI are very complicated. We recommend that you seek immediate legal representation. A competent criminal defense lawyer can explain small differences in the law or the facts that could dramatically affect your case. Our office is available 24/7 to represent you with any criminal matter.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/25/2010
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