Can You Get a DUI on Private Property?

At Wagner Law, we understand the importance of clarity and understanding when it comes to legal matters, especially those concerning DUI offenses. In this blog post, we’ll explore a common question: Can you get a DUI on private property in West Virginia?

DUI laws can be complex and vary from state to state, and understanding how they apply to different scenarios — including private property — is essential for ensuring compliance and protecting your rights. Whether you’re a driver, property owner, or simply interested in learning more about DUI laws, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need to navigate this important legal issue.

What is a DUI in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, DUI refers to operating or having actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, to the point where your faculties are impaired. To be charged with a DUI in this state, two main criteria must be met:

You must be operating or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. This doesn’t only mean driving on public roads; it also includes sitting in the driver’s seat with the capability to control the vehicle, even if it’s stationary.

You must be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, impairing your ability to drive safely. For adults over 21, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%, while for those under 21, it’s 0.02%.

The focus of DUI laws in West Virginia is on the impairment of your mental or physical faculties due to substance consumption. This impairment can show up as slower reaction times, poor judgment, lack of coordination, or other signs of intoxication that affect your ability to drive safely.

Types of DUI Offenses

In West Virginia, DUI offenses come in various forms, each with distinct legal consequences and penalties. One type is DUI Per Se, which applies to individuals driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher if they are over 21, or 0.02% or higher if they are under 21. Another type is DUI with Drugs, where a person can be charged if they are impaired by illegal substances or prescription medications.

Aggravated DUI is a more serious offense involving factors such as prior DUI convictions, driving at excessive speeds, or having a BAC significantly above the legal limit. Additionally, DUI with Child Endangerment occurs when someone drives under the influence with a child passenger, leading to enhanced penalties due to the increased risk to the child’s safety.


Harley and Heather gave me peace of mind as they walked me through the process of my DUI. Heather was so quick to answer even the smallest and probably irrelevant questions I had. I was extremely nervous to walk in the courtroom, but Harley made sure I was in and out of there in no time with the best deal I could think of. My DUI charge was reduced to a speeding ticket and some online DUI classes. Would absolutely recommend Harley and Heather if you’re ever in need of a lawyer.”

- Antea Jarazi


The Wagner Law Firm was amazing from beginning to end dealing with my case. This was my first time ever dealing with anything like this and they helped me tremendously and answered all my questions super fast. We got the best outcome possible for my case and I will be recommending Harley and Heather to anyone that’s ever in my situation."

- Savanna Cummings


Harley and Heather do not stop and are excellent at always keeping their clients up to date on the status of their case and never left wondering. They do all the work and are very well connected throughout the state. I will forever be grateful to both Harley and Heather for what they did for me,,,, they aren’t just another law firm, they are great people who truly care. Thank you."

- Clint Anderson

Penalties for DUI in West Virginia

The penalties for DUI offenses in West Virginia vary depending on factors such as the defendant’s prior criminal record, the level of impairment, and whether aggravating factors are present. However, common penalties for DUI convictions in West Virginia may include:

– Fines

– License suspension or revocation

– Mandatory participation in an alcohol education or treatment program

– Community service

– Installation of an ignition interlock device

– Jail or prison time, especially for repeat offenses or aggravated DUI charges

DUI offenses in West Virginia are serious criminal charges that can have long-lasting consequences for individuals convicted of these offenses. Understanding how DUI is defined under West Virginia criminal law is essential for protecting your rights and mounting an effective defense if you are facing DUI charges. But can you get a DUI on private property? To answer that, we need to examine the other piece of the puzzle: what exactly is private property?

Case Results

DUI Felony 3rd Offense

Not Guilty

DUI 1st

Not Guilty

Aggravated DUI 1st

Charge Reduced

.08 DUI Causing Death

Case Dismissed

DUI Felony Fleeing / Attempted Murder by Vehicle

All Charges Dismissed

.14 Felony DUI Causing Death Case

Reduced to Misdemeanor

Public Property vs. Private Property in West Virginia

Public property in West Virginia refers to land, buildings, or other assets that are owned and maintained by governmental entities, such as federal, state, or local government agencies. Public property is dedicated to public use and enjoyment and may include:

– Parks

– Roads and highways

– Government buildings

– Schools

– Libraries

– Public utilities

– Courthouses

– Public transportation facilities

Public property is funded by taxpayer dollars and is intended to serve the needs of the general public. It is subject to regulation and oversight by government authorities, and access to public property is generally open to all members of the public, subject to reasonable restrictions and regulations.

Private Property

Private property in West Virginia refers to land, buildings, or other assets that are owned and controlled by individuals, businesses, or organizations that are not affiliated with government entities. Private property may include:

– Residential homes

– Commercial buildings

– Farms and ranches

– Businesses

– Industrial facilities

– Vacant land

– Personal property such as vehicles, furniture, and equipment

Private property is owned by individuals or entities and is subject to their exclusive control and use. Property owners have the right to use, possess, and dispose of their property as they see fit, subject to legal restrictions and regulations imposed by government authorities.

Key Differences Between Public and Private Property

Public property and private property both involve ownership and control of land or assets, but they differ in several significant ways. Public property is owned by governmental entities and is dedicated to public use. This means it is open to all members of the public for their use and enjoyment. In contrast, private property is owned by individuals, businesses, or organizations, who have exclusive control over its use and access. Only the owner and authorized individuals or entities can enter or utilize private property.

Another key difference lies in regulation. Public property is regulated and overseen by government authorities to ensure it serves the public interest. Private property, however, is subject to the legal rights and obligations of the owner, in addition to applicable laws and regulations.

Maintenance and management also vary between the two. Governmental entities are responsible for the upkeep and administration of public property, ensuring it remains in good condition for public use. On the other hand, private property owners bear the responsibility for maintaining and managing their property.

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Can You Get a DUI on Private Property?

Now, let’s address the question of whether you can get a DUI on private property in West Virginia. The short answer is yes, you can be charged with DUI on private property under certain circumstances. While most DUI cases in West Virginia occur on public roads and highways, DUI laws in the state also apply to private property in certain situations.

In West Virginia, you can be charged with a DUI on private property if:

– You are operating or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both substances.

– The private property is accessible to the public or used for public purposes, such as parking lots, driveways, or other areas where the public is invited or has access.

Legal Implications

Facing DUI charges on private property in West Virginia can have serious legal implications. If convicted, you may face criminal penalties such as fines, license suspension, mandatory participation in an alcohol education or treatment program, community service, and even jail time, particularly for repeat offenses or aggravated DUI charges. Additionally, there is the potential for civil liability if your impaired driving causes accidents or injuries.

In West Virginia, you can be charged with DUI on private property under certain circumstances, especially if the property is accessible to the public or used for public purposes. Understanding these legal implications is crucial for protecting your rights and effectively navigating the legal process.

Harley Wagner

Defending West Virginia Residents for over 24 Years

Protecting West Virginians’ Rights

While the laws surrounding DUI on private property in West Virginia can be nuanced, it’s essential to understand that you can indeed be charged with a DUI under certain circumstances. Whether you were arrested on a public road or private property, facing DUI charges is a serious matter that requires immediate attention from a legal professional.

If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges in West Virginia, don’t navigate the legal process alone. The Wagner Law Firm is here to provide guidance and aggressive advocacy to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. With our extensive experience in DUI defense, we will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and advocate for your interests every step of the way.

Contact us today for a confidential consultation to discuss your case and learn more about how we can assist you. Your future and freedom are our top priorities, and we’re here to stand by your side throughout this challenging time. Don’t delay — reach out to us now to get the experienced legal representation you deserve.