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DUI on Private Property

People often think that they cannot be charged with drunk driving if they are on private property. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.

Section 625 of the Michigan Vehicle Code states that it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in any place that is open to the public or accessible to other vehicles if you are impaired or intoxicated. In other words, the simple fact that you were on "private property" will not stop police from investigating and arresting you for drunk driving.

Private Property, Public Roadways, and Open and Accessible Areas

Most roadways are publically owned, meaning they are owned and maintained by the government. The driveways that lead to our homes, as well as the paved areas and corridors that connect commercial properties, are generally privately owned. In other words, when you drive on your own or someone else's driveway or within the parking lot of a business, restaurant, or bar, you technically are driving on private property. However, these areas are open and accessible to other vehicles, which means they are fair game for drunk driving stops.

Defending a Drunk Driving Charge on Private Property

When it comes to defending an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge, the fact of whether it occurred on private or public property has no real bearing on the case. Rather, the prosecution will have to prove that the area in which you were driving was open and accessible to the public. If the state cannot show this beyond a reasonable doubt, then the judge or jury should not find you guilty of the charge.

Client Reviews
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Patrick Barone is the ONLY choice for DUI defense. He was realistic from the start and made it a point to look at my case before taking my money. As a business owner, when I think of attorneys, I think of the "shark infested waters. Patrick is a shark alright, but his prey is not the client; it's justice for his client. Ten stars Patrick!! Chris F.
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Attorney Patrick Barone was very helpful and helped me understand the charge and sentence absolutely clearly. He also guided me through step by step helping me form a statement. His instructions were clear and detailed. It was obvious he cared about me understanding every important detail within my case. I would absolutely recommend this defense firm to anyone in need. Aaron B.
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The Barone Defense Firm is the firm I recommend. They are truly concerned about the person, not just the legal issue, but the person as well. They are the most knowledgeable defense firm that I am aware of, having actually written the book on DWI Defense. If you are faced with a DWI you will not find a more professional and skilled law firm. But, most importantly, they care about how the accused individual recovers his or her life when the case is complete. Very remarkable group of lawyers. William H.