Ask a Florida DUI Attorney: Can I Get a DUI on Private Property?
If you drive on a public street or highway while intoxicated, the police can arrest you for driving under the influence (DUI). But what if you’re in a parking lot at your apartment complex? How about an unpaved road on your private property?
The fact is, police can charge you with a DUI for driving just about anywhere in the state of Florida, even on private property. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, a Florida DUI attorney can review your case and help protect your legal rights.
You Can Be Charged With a DUI in Florida on Private Property
In Florida, law enforcement can charge you with a DUI if you show impairment of normal faculties or a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. This can come not only from drinking alcohol before operating a vehicle but also from using any illegal drug or controlled medication.
In some cases, police officers don’t even have to see you driving to arrest you for DUI. They could also charge you with a DUI if you have “physical control of your vehicle,” which could mean having an open bottle of alcohol or showing signs of impairment while sitting in your car.
What Constitutes Private Property?
Your first thought about “private property” is probably residential, like the land around your home. In Florida, “private property” does include residential properties, but it also includes the streets inside apartment complexes, condominium complexes, mobile home parks, and gated communities. It even extends to parking lots and parking garages next to malls and other businesses.
Whether you’re on a major interstate or in a friend’s parking garage, driving while under the influence is illegal anywhere in the state of Florida. The same is true in most other states as well.
What Vehicles Are Included in Florida’s DUI Laws?
Can the police arrest you for driving a golf cart while drunk? Yes. Not only is it against the law to drive cars and trucks in Florida while intoxicated, but also to operate any vehicle.
Florida statutes do not specifically define “vehicle,” but Florida DUI attorneys have seen cases involving operators of the following modes of transportation:
- Golf carts
- Mopeds and electric scooters
- Bicycles and electric bicycles
- Horse and buggies
- Even lawnmowers and wheelchairs
What Are the Penalties for DUI in Florida?
The penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida are stiff and can include fines, jail time, community service, and loss of your driver’s license. The severity of the penalties depends on a variety of factors, including whether or not this was your first offense.
If you can answer yes to any of the questions below, you may face harsher penalties:
- Is this your second, third, or fourth DUI conviction?
- Did your breath test indicate an excessively high BAC?
- Did your DUI result in property damage or injuries?
Beyond the criminal penalties of a DUI, you may also face other consequences, such as increased auto insurance rates, an ignition lock device that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles places in your car, and the loss of your professional driver’s license.
Let Our Skilled Florida DUI Attorneys Help
Facing a DUI charge in Florida or any other state is scary and overwhelming. But you don’t have to face it alone. Because Florida DUI laws are so complex, a DUI is also one of the most defensible charges with an experienced lawyer from The Law Office of Michael White on your side.
An experienced Florida DUI attorney can use a variety of defense strategies to support your case. Contact our law firm at (954) 270-0769 for more information or to schedule a free case review.