Can You Get a DUI on Private Property in Nevada
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Drinking and driving under the influence is illegal in Nevada, but what about if you’re on private property? Can you be arrested for being drunk on your own land or a friend’s?
In this article, we will explore the laws surrounding DUI charges on private property in Nevada. We’ll define what constitutes private property and discuss the legal implications of drinking and driving while on it. We’ll also look at other related offenses such as open container laws, which may have different rules when applied to private properties. Finally, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions so you can better understand how these laws affect your rights.
What the Law Says About DUI
When you think about being arrested for DUI, you’re probably thinking about getting pulled over while driving on a highway or perhaps running into a sobriety or DUI checkpoint.
But Nevada’s DUI law also applies to “private” properties. Here’s what NRS 484C.110 say about this:
It is unlawful for any person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access…
Is a highway referencing big freeways like the I-15 or does it include other roads? What about premises to which the public has access? We’ll tackle these below.
Definition of Private Property
In Nevada, private property is defined as land or buildings owned by an individual or company that are not open to the public. It includes things like a person’s home or business, and even large vacant lots.
Although private properties are generally off-limits to most people, there may be exceptions. For example, some private properties may be open to the public for special events or activities.
Definition of Highway
According to NRS 484A.095, a highway is defined as “the entire width between the boundary lines of every way dedicated to a public authority when any part of the way is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic, whether or not the public authority is maintaining the way.”
What this means is that highways include not just the major freeways, but also roads and other places where the public can use vehicles. It includes freeways like the I-15, but also smaller residential roads and alleys.
Definition of Premises To Which The Public Has Access (NRS 484A.185)
The statute defines premises to which the public has access as any place that is open to or used by people for recreational purposes. This includes things like a parking garage, an apartment building, and mobile home parks.
Here’s what NRS 484A.185 has to say:
1. “Premises to which the public has access” means property in private or public ownership onto which members of the public regularly enter, are reasonably likely to enter, or are invited or permitted to enter as invitees or licensees, whether or not access to the property by some members of the public is restricted or controlled by a person or a device.
2. The term includes, but is not limited to:
(a) A parking deck, parking garage or other parking structure.
(b) A paved or unpaved parking lot or other paved or unpaved area where vehicles are parked or are reasonably likely to be parked.
(c) A way that provides access to or is appurtenant to:
(1) A place of business;
(2) A governmental building;
(3) An apartment building;
(4) A mobile home park;
(5) A residential area or residential community which is gated or enclosed or the access to which is restricted or controlled by a person or a device; or
(6) Any other similar area, community, building or structure.
3. The term does not include:
(a) A private way on a farm.
(b) The driveway of an individual dwelling.
As you can see, even though you might think a property/location is “private,” under Nevada law, you can still be charged with a DUI on those places.
Truly private properties, like the private way on a farm or the driveway leading to an individual’s home or garage, are not considered “public” wonder Nevada DUI laws. This means that if you attempt to drive your vehicle while under the influence and crash into a wall in your own driveway, you cannot be arrested for DUI.
Can a Person Be Arrested for Being Drunk on Their Own Property
The answer is generally “no.” There’s nothing illegal about drinking and being drunk in your own property (e.g. your own home).
However, if a law enforcement officer believes that you are endangering yourself or others while intoxicated on your own property, they could still arrest you. For example, if the police were called to your house due to reports of a disturbance and they find that you are drunk, they could take you into custody.
The charges for this, however, won’t be DUI-related.
Is Drinking and Driving Allowed if It’s on a Private Property Away From the Public?
The answer to this question is “no.” You can still be arrested for a DUI even if you are driving on private property that is away from the public.
Under Nevada law, you’ll be charged with DUI (and therefore illegal) if an individual “Is found by measurement within 2 hours after driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath.”
Continuing from the example above, if you had a few drinks in your own home, tried to pull out of your driveway, and hit a wall, you will most likely not be charged with DUI.
However, if you went for a few drinks at a nearby bar, drove back home, and made it to your own property but hit your fence, you may still be charged with DUI because of this 2-hour driving rule.
Arrested for DUI on a Private Property?
If you or someone you know is arrested for DUI despite being on private property, make sure to contact an experienced DUI attorney. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you fight the charges and have them reduced or dismissed entirely.
The Defenders is a team of experienced attorneys who have been in the field for years and understand Nevada DUI laws inside and out. We can help you evaluate your case, build a vigorous defense, and be by your side throughout the entire process.
Do not hesitate to reach out and contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Nevada DUI laws apply to private property?
Yes, Nevada DUI laws apply to private property. The law covers both highways and “premises to which the public has access,” which include parking decks, parking lots, and other areas where the public regularly enters or is invited to enter.
Can I get arrested for being drunk on my own property?
You can be arrested for being drunk in your own property if a law enforcement officer believes that you are endangering yourself or others while intoxicated. For example, you’re physically holding a gun while drunk, or “disturbing the peace” by challenging your neighbors to a fight. Both of which are different crimes. They can’t, however, arrest you for DUI.
Can I drink and drive on my private property away from the public?
No, drinking and driving are not allowed, even if you are on private property away from the public. According to Nevada DUI law, you can be arrested for DUI if an individual “is found by measurement within 2 hours after driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath.”
If I drive drunk on private property and get into an accident or cause damage, will I be charged?
If the property is truly private, like your own driveway, then no, you can’t be charged with DUI. If the property falls under the “premises to which the public has access” like a parking garage or a driveway leading to an apartment, then you can be charged with DUI. In both examples, it is also possible that you may be charged with other related crimes, not just DUI.