Can I Be Charged with a Reno, Nevada DUI for Driving on Private Property?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 04, 2016 | 0 Comments


When you think of DUI, you may think of being pulled over by police while driving on a public road or highway. But in Reno, Nevada, you can also be charged with DUI even if you were driving on private property.

In order to be convicted of a Nevada DUI, an intoxicated driver must be either “driving” or in “actual physical control” of a vehicle:

  • on a highway, or
  • on premises to which the public has access

NRS 484C.110

Nevada law defines a “highway” as:

“the entire width between the boundary lines of every way dedicated to a public authority when any part of the way is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic, whether or not the public authority is maintaining the way.” NRS 484A.095. Sidewalks adjacent to a highway are considered part of the highway. NRS 484A.240.

It is pretty clear that in order to be considered a “highway” for purposes of Nevada DUI law, a road in Reno must be publicly owned.

You Can Get a Reno DUI on Private Property “to Which the Public Has Access”

However, Reno roads on private property are fair game for DUI charges if they are “on premises to which the public has access.”

As defined in NRS 484A.185, “premises to which the public has access” means

“property in private or public ownership onto which members of the public regularly enter, are reasonably likely to enter, or are invited or permitted to enter as invitees or licensees, whether or not access to the property by some members of the public is restricted or controlled by a person or a device.”

Examples of such premises as specified in the statute include:

  • parking decks, parking garages, or other parking structures,
  • paved or unpaved parking lots or other paved or unpaved areas where vehicles are parked or are reasonably likely to be parked,
  • roads or ways that provide access to:
    • places of business;
    • governmental buildings;
    • apartment buildings;
    • mobile home parks;
    • residential areas or residential communities which are gated or enclosed or the access to which are restricted or controlled by a person or a device; or
    • any other similar area, community, building or structure

The term does not include private ways on farms or the driveway of an individual dwelling.

Given the extensive list above, the odds are that even if you are driving on private property in Reno, Nevada, you could find yourself facing criminal charges if you do so while legally intoxicated.

If you've been charged with a Reno, Nevada DUI, whether you were on public or private property, our Reno, Nevada DUI defense lawyers can help you fight the charges so you can move forward with your life. Call us today.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


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