According to a recent ruling made by the West Virginia Supreme Court, it is illegal for a drunk driver to get behind the wheel of any type of vehicle, even if on private property. Law enforcement has the authority to arrest and charge an individual who is caught drunk driving, even it is not on a public road. Opponents have stated that this decision is a form of government overreach.
This law originated from an incident that occurred in 2012. A young man was driving his ATV when he crashed it on his family's farm. Despite the fact that he was on privately held property, he was still charged with drunk driving. The criminal charges were disputed and eventually dismissed, but the defendant lost his driving privileges for 45 days per an administrative suspension from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Ultimately, the case ended up before the West Virginia Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the DMV.
It is no secret that drunk driving is a threat to public safety. However, one could question the right of the state government to arrest and charge a person for drunk driving while on private property. If a person is in this type of legal situation, it is wise to quickly seek the assistance of a lawyer experienced in complex defense cases.
No matter the details of a drunk driving case, a defense lawyer can help a person seek a beneficial outcome. In order to effectively confront these charges, one must move quickly to gather important evidence and build a strong defense. A complete case evaluation can identify the most appropriate strategy for the individual situation.
Source: wvmetronews.com, "WV Supreme Court says drunk driving is illegal on private property", Hoppy Kercheval, Nov. 1, 2016