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Charged with DUI in your driveway

A Michigan court recently overturned the DUI conviction of a man who was observed to be operating his car only in his own driveway – moving it only from his garage to his driveway and then parking.  The court’s decision turned on the portion of their DUI statute dealing with where a vehicle was at the time of the alleged offense.  Specifically, the statute provides that a DUI can be charged where the defendant is driving in an area “generally accessible to motor vehicles.”  In the instant case, the court ruled that the defendant’s driveway was NOT generally accessible to motor vehicles of the public.  In other words, in was not a public street or highway.

As a Denver DUI attorney, I’ve encountered many clients who have been charged under similar circumstances.  The difference is that in Colorado, it does not matter where your car is.  You can be in a parking lot or any private property and be charged with DUI.  In fact, your vehicle does not even need to be moving.  You need only be found to be in “actual physical control” of the vehicle.  Basically, if you are in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, you have met this criteria.