Can I Get a DUI on Private Property in Florida?

Posted by Daniel BottariJul 27, 20200 Comments

Florida DUI On Private Property

This is a question that I am often asked by clients and people who interested in DUI law. The answer is yes, you can still get a DUI if the vehicle is on private property. The legal authority for this is Florida Statute 316.193. Pursuant to Florida Statute 316.193, a person is, “guilty of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and is under the influence of alcohol, a chemical substance pursuant to section 877.11, or any substance controlled under 893 when affected to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired.” A driver who completes a DUI breath or blood test with a BAC of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath is legally impaired.

The above language, “vehicle within this state” means that it doesn't matter if the vehicle is located on private property. You can be in your driveway or in a field and still get arrested for DUI. You can be on your farm, or in your business location's parking lot. It doesn't matter where the vehicle is parked. This may violate people's beliefs that they should be able to do whatever they want on their property, but unfortunately, this is the case in the state of Florida.

However, the police still must have probable cause that a traffic infraction has occurred or reasonable suspicion of a crime to stop the vehicle on private property. For example, you cannot get pulled over just because the officer “has a hunch” that you are driving under the influence. There must be an articulable suspicion that a driver is impaired to avoid infringing on a driver's fourth amendment rights. This articulable suspicion is typically formed by an officer observing a driver's driving pattern. A driver who is weaving within a lane may be pulled over by police. The legal standard of probable cause is relatively low. An officer simply has to have a reasonable belief of impairment, he does not have to be correct to justify the stop. The standard is low because protecting the public from drunk and impaired driver's is outweighed by the brief intrusion to a person caused by stopping the vehicle. An illegal stop that violates a person's fourth amendment rights is grounds for a case dismissal through a dispositive motion to suppress.

Finally, even with a legal vehicle stop on private property, the government still has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your normal faculties were impaired. These are walking, talking, seeing, hearing, judging distances etc., or that your breath alcohol or blood alcohol level was .08 or higher.

If you've been arrested for a DUI on private property in Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lake Worth, or anywhere in Florida, contact the DUI attorneys at Bottari & Doyle for a FREE case evaluation to start building your defense.