Posted on January 9, 2018
There is a common misconception that you cannot be arrested for a DUI or DWAI as long as you remain on your own property. Whether driving a vehicle down a public street or just on your own land, when you get behind the wheel of a vehicle you are consenting to obey all traffic laws. This applies even if you haven’t left your own property.
If an officer suspects you of being under the influence while behind the wheel of a vehicle, they can come onto your property to question you and perform an investigation. This can result in an arrest.
What qualifies as driving under the influence?
In Colorado, driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired are defined as a person consuming drugs or alcohol that affected them to a degree of incapacitation. The incapacitation can be mental, physical or both, which limits the person’s ability to maintain safe control over a vehicle. For a DWAI, the person is deemed less able than they ordinarily would be. Anyone driving with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher would also qualify.
You do not have to be driving to get a DUI
The Colorado DUI statute does not require movement of the vehicle for you to be charged. In order for an officer to arrest you for a DUI they do not need to see you driving, they only to have reasonable proof that you had been driving under the influence. A driver simply has to be considered in physical control of the vehicle while intoxicated to be charged.
Determining physical control can be a slippery slope and any indication that you had direction or bodily influence over the control of the vehicle could be used. This can include where you were in the vehicle, such as being seated in the driver’s seat, and whether or not the keys are in the ignition.
While officers tend to use discretion and are not as likely to come onto your property that does not mean that you are immune from a DUI as long as you remain on your own land. Use good judgment and don’t drive while impaired, including on your own property to avoid the hassle of a DUI charge.