Can You Get a DUI On Private Property?

We all know that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol on California’s roads can have serious consequences. In addition to getting your license suspended, you could also be ordered to serve jail time and be on the hook for expensive fines. Can California police enforce traffic laws if you’re on private property? Do you have the right to do anything you want on your own land? Or, can you still be charged with a DUI for driving drunk on private property?

What is a DUI?

Illinois law prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You will be considered to be “under the influence” if you lack the necessary skills and reasoning that are necessary to operate a vehicle safely. Ask yourself: am I driving this car as safely as a sober person could? If the answer is “no,” you will likely be considered to be under the influence.

There are two ways police can charge you with a DUI. The first is if your blood alcohol content registers at .08 percent or greater. If your BAC exceeds the legal limit you will be considered per se intoxicated and will face criminal charges. The second is if your BAC registers at or above .05 percent and the arresting officer has reason to believe you cannot safely drive the vehicle. The police officer will have to provide evidence to support his or her suspicions.

No Protections for Wrongful Conduct on Private Property

Why is it that you can get a DUI for engaging in private behavior on your own private property? Because your actions still pose a serious threat of harm to you and others. A primary purpose of Illinois’ DUI laws is to protect the people of Illinois from harm. If you engage in dangerous drunk driving behavior on your own property you are still putting yourself and others at risk.

DUI laws, like many other laws in Illinois, still apply even if you’re not out in public. As long as police have probable cause to execute a stop and reasonable belief that you are intoxicated, you can face serious criminal consequences. Police have the right to enforce Illinois state laws whether they are patrolling the state highway, spot a violation in a parking lot, or witness dangerous conduct on your own private property.

Fighting DUI Charges in Chicago

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in Chicago it is important to fight any criminal charges. Prosecutors will have to prove (1) that your BAC was at or above the legal limit, or (2) your BAC was elevated and your conduct indicated you were not fit to drive. FIghting the prosecution every step of the way will make it incredibly difficult for them to build a solid case against you. When they lack the evidence to support their case they will be more likely to offer a deal or drop the charges.

While being on private property is not a valid defense to driving under the influence, there are a number of arguments you can assert in your defense. Defenses that may be helpful in fighting DUI charges in Chicago include:

  • The BAC testing procedures are unreliable and inaccurate;
  • The officers did not administer field sobriety tests appropriately;
  • Police lacked the necessary probable cause to execute a traffic stop;
  • There is no evidence to support the allegation that you were intoxicated; and
  • Police gathered evidence in violation of your rights.

If police violated your rights (e.g., lack of probable cause to stop you, unlawful search and seizure, illegal arrest) the prosecution should not be allowed to benefit. The criminal defense attorneys at the Kostopoulos Law Group will immediately file a motion to suppress any evidence that has been tainted by the illegal act. When the prosecution loses the ability to use this evidence they may have no choice but to dismiss the charges against you.

Chicago DUI Defense Attorneys

You have the right to defend yourself against any drunk driving allegations, and the DUI defense attorneys at the Kostopoulos Law Group can help. Call our Chicago office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more. We will review your case, determine if your rights have been violated, and outline our initial strategy for your defense. The decisions you make immediately following a rest are crucial, so do not hesitate to call us today.

Kostopoulos Law Group
125 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 300 A
Chicago, IL 60606

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