Can You Get a DUI on Private Property in Arizona?
Imagine this. You start up your car in your own driveway after a fun party with friends and you see flashing lights pull up on the street. An officer asks you to get out of your car and inquires whether you’ve been drinking.
But you’re on your private property, so you think you’re safe from all DUI charges even though you did begin to operate a vehicle after consuming alcohol.
Arizona law allows police officers to arrest drivers for drinking and driving even when on private property. The law has no distinction between private and public property, meaning you should be careful with getting behind the wheel no matter where you’re at.
Arizona law concerning DUIs on private property
Arizona DUI law focuses on your impairment when you are “in actual physical control of a vehicle.” It does not state where you are when in control of that vehicle or even that you be driving the vehicle.
Arizona law Section 28-1381 states clearly that:
“It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances:
- 1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.
- “2. If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle.”
- Parking lots, including those at restaurants and bars
- Parking garages
- The driveway at your home
- Private land or private roads
- Gated communities
- If the car was running
- Where the key was located if the car wasn’t running
- If you were awake
- The position you were within the vehicle
- The vehicle’s location
- The state of the vehicle, such as whether the air conditioning was running, the windows were up or down, if the lights were on, etc.
The law does not differentiate between where you are located at the time of the traffic stop or arrest. It does not state that the vehicle must be moving or that you must be on public roads at the time of the offense.
Types of private property where you could be charged with a DUI
Arizona law does not have any exceptions as to where you could be charged with a DUI. That means that any of the following private property areas could be places where you could face DUI charges. But this list is not all inclusive so you should be aware of the risks of controlling a vehicle after drinking no matter where you are.
In Arizona, you could even face DUI charges for operating a golf cart within a gated community if you’re under the influence. The state aims its attention at preventing accidents on all roads, not just public ones. So to protect other motorists or even pedestrians within your community, the law leaves room to arrest you for operating or even trying to operate a vehicle when impaired.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to be driving for an officer to charge you with a DUI. The courts will focus on whether you were in “actual physical control” of a motorized vehicle. To do this, the courts will evaluate these key factors.
These facts and situational factors are all things that your Arizona DUI attorney will work to prove to avoid a conviction. If you’re facing DUI charges, contact our office as soon as possible to begin developing a defense strategy.