Many people assume they cannot get charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if they are on private property—and in some states, they may be right. In Arizona, however, this is not the case. Arizona’s DUI statutes do not distinguish between public and private property, which means that you can be arrested for driving under the influence regardless of where you are driving at the time of your arrest.

In Arizona, You Can Be Charged with DUI on Private Property

Under Arizona’s DUI laws, the question is not where you were driving—or even necessarily whether you were driving. Instead, Arizona’s DUI laws focus on whether you were impaired or intoxicated while “in actual physical control of a vehicle.” For example, Section 28-1381 states:

“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 . . . 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.”

Likewise, Arizona’s extreme DUI statute, Section 28-1382, states:

“It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state if the person has an alcohol concentration . . . [of] 0.15 or more but less than 0.20 [or] 0.20 or more.”

As you can see, there is no mention in either of these statutes of a need to be in actual physical control of a vehicle on public property.

Can You Be Charged with DUI on All Types of Private Property?

There are no exceptions to Arizona’s DUI statute for specific types of property. Thus, you can be charged with driving under the influence of all types of private property. This includes (but is not limited to)

  • Business parking lots (including bar and restaurant parking lots)
  • Gated communities
  • Parking garages
  • Private land
  • Private roads
  • Your own driveway

Remember that while driving is one way you can be charged with DUI, it is enough to be “in actual physical control” of your vehicle. Thus, you do not actually have to be driving on private property to be charged with DUI. When assessing whether a person is in actual physical control of a vehicle in non-driving situations, the Arizona courts look to factors such as:

  • Whether the vehicle was running
  • If the vehicle was not running, where the key was located
  • Where and in what position the person is situated in the vehicle
  • Whether the person was asleep or awake
  • Where the vehicle was located
  • Other factors include whether the lights were on, the air conditioner was on, or the windows had been rolled down.

In non-driving situations, there is no bright-line rule that determines whether a person can be charged with DUI. Instead, the judge or jury must consider the factors above and decide whether a conviction is warranted. This makes it extremely important to work with an experienced Phoenix DUI defense lawyer who can argue the facts of your case and seek to protect you from the harsh consequences of a DUI conviction.

Can You Be Charged with DUI While Driving a Golf Cart in Your Gated Community?

Many people want to know whether they can be charged with DUI while driving a golf cart in their gated community. Arizona has many gated communities, and golf carts are becoming increasingly popular as transportation modes for visiting neighbors or going to the pool.

We’ve already answered the question of whether you can be charged with DUI in a gated community (you can). So, now the question is: Can you be charged with DUI while driving a golf cart? In Arizona, you can.

Arizona defines a golf cart as a type of vehicle for purposes of the state’s DUI statute. So, while it might seem like getting behind the wheel of a golf cart is less dangerous than getting behind the wheel of a car, truck, or SUV (especially if you are driving through your gated community), even if you are driving a golf cart on private property in Arizona, you can still be charged with DUI.

Why Does Arizona Law Allow for DUI Charges on Private Property?

If you are not driving under the influence on public roads, why does Arizona law still make it illegal to be drunk behind the wheel? There are two primary reasons.

First, in many cases, being drunk behind the wheel can still put others at risk even if you are on private property. For example, if you drive under the influence in a private gated community, you could still hit another vehicle or possibly even hit a child, cyclist, or pedestrian. Since you could be charged with DUI if you were in a neighborhood with publicly maintained roads, it stands to reason that you can still be charged even if the roads are private (don’t forget, you can be charged with virtually all other crimes on private property as well).

Second, even if you are not driving on public roads, there is a chance that you could drive on public roads. For example, let’s say you leave a party at a friend’s house, and you decide to get behind the wheel of your car. While you may still be in your friend’s driveway (which is private property) for the moment, as soon as you leave, you will be putting others at risk on Arizona’s public roads.

Charged with a DUI on Private Property in Arizona? Contact Phoenix DUI Defense Lawyer Mark Weingart Today

Have you been charged with a DUI on private property in Arizona? If so, you need to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you. To discuss your case with Phoenix DUI defense lawyer Mark Weingart in confidence, call 480-405-7922 or request an appointment online now.