William Long Whitesell, L.L.C.

Can I get a DUI on my own property?

Many drivers have a mental image of what a DUI arrest could look like. It may entail being pulled over after swerving on a highway. Others may picture a DUI checkpoint when driving home from a party at night.

These incidents both occur on public roadways. It makes sense that the police would be working to protect public safety by monitoring potential instances of people driving under the influence. If you're driving on private property, can the police charge you with a DUI?

Some states distinguish between private and public roadways which can affect possible penalties for drunk driving at your home. Georgia, however, doesn't make a distinction between the two.

Instead, Georgia's driving laws apply to all vehicles, regardless if the act of driving occurred on public or private property. Georgia law states that any driver operating a vehicle on a public road, street or common area will be subject to the same laws and regulations as someone operating a vehicle on a private road, street or common area.

This means that someone operating a vehicle at a golf course, a parking lot or a driveway may be subject to the same DUI penalties as someone pulled over on I-75.

DUI penalties in Georgia

There are two ways a driver can be charged with a DUI. A driver can be found with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher. The other way someone may be charged with a DUI is if an officer determines the driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The severity of the penalty will depend on how high the driver's BAC is and how many offenses they've previously had. A first offense could mean up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, 40 hours of community service and a suspended license for one year.

These penalties increase up to your fourth offense. The fourth offense is a felony that carries a fine of up to $5,000 and 1-5 years in state prison and may result in a revoked driver's license.

It's important for Georgia drivers to recognize that operating a motor vehicle on private property isn't an adequate defense for a DUI charge. If you've been charged with a DUI, take legal action immediately to increase the chances of a more successful outcome.

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