DUI IN A GOLF CART IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD?? – PART 2

Do you have to be driving a traditional car, SUV or truck to be subject to Nevada’s DUI laws? Can you be convicted of DUI while operating a moped on your cul-de-sac or a golf cart in your private/gated community? The answers to these questions surprise most people.
In Part 1 of this blog we determined that Nevada’s broad definition of “vehicle” would likely lead to over-zealous prosecutors charging citizens with DUI under circumstances where the citizen was only accused of operating a moped or golf cart. In this part, we examine whether an individual can be charged with DUI for operating a vehicle, including a moped or golf cart, under circumstances where the citizen only operated the vehicle on his own cul-de-sac or inside his private/gated community.
Part 2
Nevada’s DUI law makes it unlawful to drive or be in actual physical control of a “vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access.” While Part 1 of this blog examined the definition of “vehicle” under Nevada’s DUI law, Part 2 will involve an analysis of what constitutes a “highway” and “premises to which the public has access” under Nevada law.

The relevant language from the above law is “on a highway or on premises to which the public has access.” What exactly does “highway” and “premises to which the public has access” mean? Nevada law defines both of these terms as follows:
A “highway” is defined by Nevada law 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.
Next:
‘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.

The term includes, but is not limited to:
(a) A parking deck, parking garage or other parking structure;
(b) A paved or unpaved parking lot or other paved or unpaved area where vehicles are parked or are reasonably likely to be parked;
(c) A way that provides access to or is appurtenant to:

  1. A place of business;
  2. A governmental building;
  3. An apartment building;
  4. A mobile home park;
  5. A residential area or residential community which is gated or
    enclosed or the access to which is restricted or
    controlled by a person or a device; or
  6. Any other similar area, community, building or structure.

However, Nevada law also provides that “private ways on a farm” and “driveways of individual dwellings” do not constitute “premises to which the public has access.”

Thus, you can be arrested, charged and convicted of DUI under circumstances where you only operated your vehicle on your own cul-de-sac or within your private/gated community (so long as you are not on the driveway of your personal residence). However, there are many other variables about your case that should be investigated (e.g., was law enforcement’s initial contact with you constitutional, were you investigated properly for DUI (field sobriety tests, preliminary breath tests, custodial interrogation, etc.) was your arrest constitutional, etc.).

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