Driving Under the Influence on Private Property in Kansas

Many people mistakenly believe that they can only be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) while driving on public properly – this simply is not the case in Kansas.  Many people are also mistaken about what private property means.  For example, parking lots with public access are considered private property just as much as privately-owned land that is not accessible to the public.  However, an officer’s authority is different depending on whether you are sitting in a parking lot in your car or if you are driving under the influence on your friend’s property.

In Kansas, an officer with probable cause that you are under the influence of alcohol while driving, or while simply parked in your car in a parking lot, has the authority to investigate and subsequently arrest you for driving under the influence.  On the other hand, if you are driving under the influence on a friend’s private property, and the friend is present and aware of your conduct, an officer cannot enter that private land to investigate and arrest you.

But, it is important to understand that there are instances when an officer can in fact enter private property where the public does not have access.  For example, if you are driving on your friend’s property (say five acres of open land), and the police believe you are doing so without the consent or presence of the landowner, the police may enter the land to investigate and arrest your for driving under the influence.  This raises the question of how the police will know whether or not you have permission or consent to drive around the open land while under the influence, or whether or not the landowner is present.

Because it is difficult to determine when private property can preclude the police from investigating you for a potential DUI offense, it is essential to be aware that the police may be able to enter private land at any time to investigate and possibly arrest you.  Kansas takes driving under the influence very seriously and is especially strict on offenders, so it is wise to assume that you could be arrested at any time for your conduct.  Don’t take a risk and assume you are safe from the police if you are just having a good time with your friends driving aimlessly under the influence of alcohol or drugs on the friend’s property.  The risk is not worth the potential harm that a DUI conviction can have on all aspects of your life and future plans.

If you have been charged with a DUI or other alcohol-related offense while on private property, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine if the charge is legitimate, and if the police had probable cause.  You may believe the police had no right to enter the property where you were arrested.  While this may turn out to be correct, you should know that the police do have the authority to enter private property under a particular set of circumstances – circumstances that you should discuss with an attorney.  Not all cases are treated the same, and whether or not a DUI charge is lawful must be determined on a case by case basis.

With over 35 years of experience, Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices is dedicated to helping individuals charged with DUI’s and other criminal offenses.  Don’t hesitate to seek the advice of an experienced attorney.  Contact us for a free consultation.  You can contact us online, or call us at (785) 843-9460.  Our office is located in downtown Lawrence, easily accessible from the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.  The Whitman Law Offices will defend your rights to the fullest no matter how serious the offense may be.  We accept major credit cards and are available to visit you at home, or in jail, if needed.

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