Can I Get Arrested for Drinking and Driving on Private Property?

How DUI laws apply to drunk driving on private property.

By , Attorney · University of San Francisco School of Law

The DUI laws of every state are different. So, whether you can get a DUI for driving drunk on your own private property depends on what state you live in. Here are the basics of how DUI laws apply to private land.

Can You Get a DUI on Private Property?

Generally, DUI laws apply either to everywhere within the state or only properties that are open to the public.

DUI Laws that Apply Everywhere Within the State

In some states—such as Kentucky and Mississippi—it's illegal to drive drunk anywhere within state borders. If you live in one of these states, you can be arrested for a DUI even if you never leave your own private property, regardless of whether or not the property is open to the public.

However, in reality, you're probably less likely to be pulled over on private property such as a large ranch or gated community where police aren't patrolling.

DUI Laws on Public Property and Private Property Open to the Public

The DUI laws of many states—including Michigan and Idaho—apply only to public property and private property that's open to the public. (For example, golf courses are often private properties that are open to the public.) In these states, you can lawfully drive while under the influence on your own private property, as long as it's not open to the public.

There are countless examples of private properties that are open to the public, including:

  • shopping center parking lots and structures
  • roadways and parking lots on university properties
  • roadways and parking lots for office buildings
  • roadways and parking areas for apartment complexes,
  • parking lots for hotels

Basically, any area that's accessible to the general public is in this category.

Talk to a DUI Attorney

If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, it's always best to talk to an experienced DUI attorney in your area. The circumstances of every case are different. A qualified DUI lawyer can help you understand how the law applies to the facts of your case.

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