Is Drunk Driving on Private Property Illegal?

How DUI laws apply to driving under the influence on private properties.

The DUI laws of all states prohibit driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol on public streets and highways. But can you get a DUI for operating a vehicle while drunk or high on private property?

It depends on what state you live in and the type of private property.

Some states have DUI laws that make it illegal to drive under the influence everywhere in the state. So, in these states, you can get a DUI regardless of whether you’re on private or public property.

However, the DUI laws of most states apply only to public roadways and areas that are open to the public. “Public roadways” would generally include city streets, state and federal highways, and any other roadway maintained by city, state, county, or federal funds. Areas “open to the public,” on the other hand, typically include public properties and lots of private properties. For instance, the parking areas of private shopping centers, schools and universities, apartment complexes, and office buildings are normally open to the public.

So, generally, DUI laws prohibit drunk driving on at least certain private properties. The only exception is for private properties that aren’t accessible to the public (a private ranch, for instance). And these exceptions wouldn’t apply in states that ban drunk driving everywhere in the state.

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