Can You Get a DUI on Private Property in Arizona?

There is a general misconception that it is not possible to be charged with DUI if on private property in Arizona. DUI is an acronym that is short for driving under the influence. Though some states do not charge people with DUI if on private property, Arizona has DUI statutes that do not differentiate between private and public property. This means it is possible to be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in spite of the fact that you were traversing a private road when the arrest occurred.

DUI on Private Property in Arizona

Arizona’s nuanced DUI laws state what matters most is the mental state of the driver as opposed to where he or she is driving. If the driver is intoxicated or impaired when in actual physical control of the automobile, he or she can be charged with DUI. The law states it is illegal for an individual to drive or have actual physical control of an automobile in the state of Arizona when under the influence of alcohol.

Arizona’s statutes pertaining to drunk driving do not state the driver must be in actual physical control of the automobile on public property. This means the failure to mention private property indicates the state’s DUI laws are applicable to drivers traversing public roads as well as private streets. However, if you were to poll Arizona drivers, few would be aware of this idiosyncrasy of the law.

Does the Type of Private Property Matter?

Arizona’s statutes pertaining to DUI do not specify the type of private property the law applies to. This means it is possible to be charged with DUI for every type of private property. DUIs can occur on Arizona private property such as a private driveway, private roads, private land, parking garages, business parking lots, gated communities and beyond. Keep in mind, the defendant does not have to be driving on the private property in question to be found guilty of DUI.

As long as the prosecution proves the individual in question was in actual physical control of the vehicle, he or she can be found guilty of DUI. Factors that are considered to gauge whether actual physical control of the vehicle is established include the vehicle’s location, whether the individual was awake or asleep, where the individual was inside the vehicle, if the vehicle was running and the location of the key in the event that the vehicle was not running.

Does DUI in Arizona Extend all the way to Driving a Golf Cart in a Gated Community?

If you are caught joy riding in a golf cart in a gated community while under the influence of alcohol, you should know you can be charged with DUI. This is an important point of note as gated communities are fully private spaces and golf carts are not traditional automobiles. The state of Arizona defines a golf cart as being a vehicle in the context of the DUI. Therefore, even if you are operating a golf cart on private property, Arizona police can still charge you with DUI.

What is the Logic in Extending DUI Charges to Private Property?

The state’s logic in extending the laws pertaining to DUI to private property is the overarching aim of the law is to make society safer. The bottom line is those who are driving on private property still constitute a threat to others including buildings when inebriated. Furthermore, it is easy to transition from a private road to a public road so it makes sense to police drivers on private streets for DUI as they are merely seconds away from merging into the flow of traffic on public roads.