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Is it possible to get an OWI/DUI in your own driveway?

Several years ago, a case involving alleged intoxicated driving brought the question as to whether or not a person could face criminal charges for drunk driving in his or her own driveway. In the original case, a man was arrested for OWI/DUI for being behind the wheel of a moving vehicle with a BAC more than three times the legal limit. Neighbors called the police with a noise complaint, and the man was ultimately placed under arrest and charged when law enforcement showed up and found him driving his vehicle in and out of the garage.

His arrest sparked a debate, and people wondered if it was lawful for a citizen to face criminal charges for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated if that person was on his or her private property. The case ended up before the Michigan Supreme Court. The court very recently ruled on this case and the issue of drunk driving on private property.

The court ruled that yes, a Michigan driver could face arrest and criminal charges for OWI or DUI, even if he or she was in the driveway of a privately owned home. This is based on the premise that a driveway is "generally accessible to motor vehicles". Additionally, it is illegal to be drunk behind the wheel, no matter where a person is driving. 

Drunk driving could lead to charges of OWI/DUI, and a conviction could bring life-altering penalties for a defendant. No matter a person's criminal history or where the drunk driving arrest took place, he or she would find it beneficial to confront these types of charges with a strong defense. With legal guidance, it may be possible to mitigate some of the potential penalties a conviction can bring. 

Source: wnem.com, "Michigan rules on drunk driving in driveway", July 26, 2017

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