Can You Get a DUI on Private Property?

April 16, 2020

Even if you’re driving on your own property, you can still get a DUI charge.

Can You Get a DUI on Private Property?

If you think about what may happen during a typical DUI stop, you probably imagine that a person is pulled over on a highway or road. Most DUI arrests do come from a person driving under the influence on a public street or highway. However, that isn’t the ONLY way that a DUI may occur.

According to a DUI defense lawyer in Riverside, CA, California law prohibits operating a vehicle while under the influence or drugs and/or alcohol. Specifically, California forbids:

  1. Driving a vehicle if you are under the influence of any alcoholic beverage;
  2. Driving a vehicle with 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC); and
  3. Driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.

Importantly, these laws are not limited by place. In other words, you can get a DUI if you operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs — even if you were on your own property. In practical terms, this means that you could get a DUI even if you are on land that isn’t open to the public. In fact, the California Vehicle Code specifically authorizes the police to patrol and enforce DUI laws for “offenses that occur other than on a highway.”

However, whether or not the police can cite you for a DUI on private property depends in part on whether the land is open to the public. For example, consider a situation where you have a few drinks at your neighborhood bar, and then get in your car and move it a few spaces before deciding that you can’t safely drive. You drive outside of the privately-owned parking lot adjacent to the bar, yet you still could be arrested for a DUI. As a DUI defense lawyer in Riverside, CA can explain, the police can still issue DUI citations for non-public lands that are open to the public.

But what happens if you’re at your own home, and decide to run to the store after having a few drinks? You start to back your car out of the driveway, and then stop, realizing that you shouldn’t drive. You never left your own property. In this situation, the police may not be able to cite you for a DUI because (1) your driveway isn’t open to the general public and (2) your driveway is within your immediate control. If you are cited for a DUI for simply moving your car a bit on your own property, a DUI defense lawyer in Riverside, CA can argue that the police were acting contrary to the law in arresting you or issuing the citation.

If you have been charged with a DUI, the Chambers Law Firm can help. We will aggressively advocate for your rights and your freedom. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or info@orangecountyduifirm.com to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team,

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