Can You Get a DUI on Private Property in New Jersey?
Posted by Scott Gorman - January 29, 2021

You were charged with driving under the influence (DUI), but you were on private property. Maybe you were in a friend’s or neighbor’s driveway, in a bar parking lot, or driving in your private gated community. Whatever the specific facts may be, you are facing serious consequences, and you need to know: Can you get a DUI on private property in New Jersey? Essex County DUI lawyer Scott Gorman explains:

Yes, You Can Get a DUI on Private Property in New Jersey

The simple answer is: Yes, you can get a DUI on private property in New Jersey. This is clear under the New Jersey Statutes, and it is also consistent with the public policy underlying the state’s prohibition on drunk driving.

New Jersey’s DUI law, Section 39:4-50 of the New Jersey Statutes, makes no distinction between driving on public and private property. The law states, in pertinent part:

“[A] person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor . . . or operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood . . . shall be [guilty of DUI].”

As you can see, you do not have to be driving on a public road in order to be guilty of DUI. In fact, you do not have to be driving at all. You simply need to be “operat[ing] a motor vehicle,” which the New Jersey courts have defined as having the intention to drive. As a result, you can be charged with DUI in New Jersey even if you are parked at the time the arresting officer decides to approach your vehicle.

With regard to any distinction between public and private property, the New Jersey legislature has determined that there is no distinction to be made. The reason for this is that while you may start out on private property, there is a reasonable chance that you will end up driving drunk on public roads. Additionally, even if you were to remain on private property (i.e. if you were driving home from a neighbor’s house in your private community), there is still a chance that you could injure someone while you were drunk behind the wheel.

This is also consistent with New Jersey’s criminal laws generally. Just as you can be charged with committing a crime in your own home, you can be charged with DUI if you are operating a motor vehicle on private property—whether your own or someone else’s. So, regardless of where you were arrested, you need to defend yourself, and your first step is to speak with an Essex County DUI lawyer in confidence.

Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation with Essex County DUI Lawyer Scott Gorman

Were you charged with DUI on private property in New Jersey? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free and confidential consultation. To discuss your defense strategy with Essex County DUI lawyer Scott Gorman, call 973-796-3800 or tell us how we can reach you online now.

Published in Categories: DUI / DWI