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Utah DUI Charges on Private Property

Can I be charged with DUI in Utah if I am driving on private property?

A DUI charge in Utah can be filed against you whether you are driving on a public road or highway, or are stopped in your own driveway. Utah DUI laws apply both on public roads and on private property, and the consequences can be serious. A first misdemeanor DUI can be punished with 180 days in jail and more than $1000 in fines (including surcharge). Penalties increase for second or subsequent DUI charges, or in cases involving accidents, or in cases where a child is present in the vehicle. For a third DUI in a ten-year period, prosecutors can file a felony charge carrying the potential of substantial prison time.

If you are facing DUI or other criminal charges in Utah, the assistance of an experienced defense attorney can be critical. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us now to arrange for an confidential consultation.

Priviate Property Exceptions under Part 5 of the Utah Traffic Code

Salt Lake Drunk Driving LawyerUtah's DUI statutes are a part of the "traffic code" under Title 41, Chapter 6a of the Utah Code. Section 41-6a-201 provides that the crimes under the traffic code generally apply only to public roads. But this section also specifically states that Part 5 (DUI and Reckless Driving) of the traffic code applies both upon public roads as well as "elsewhere throughout the state." This phrase has been interpretted by Utah courts as making the DUI and reckless driving provisions of the traffic code applicable on both public and private property.

For most Utah traffic code violations, to be charged you must be driving or operating a vehicle on a public road or in a public place. But under the "elsewhere throughout the state" exception of Section 41-6a-201, Utah's drunk driving laws apply without regard to whether you are on private property. Even if you are just pulling your car from your own driveway into your garage, an officer may still cite you for DUI.

The crimes that come under this private property exception include:

(Note: Utah Code 41-6a-526, prohibiting the consumption of alcohol or possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, is found in Part 5 of the traffic code. But the specific provisions of this section limit its applicability to public roads.)

Many of the offenses listed under the traffic code are not viewed as being serious offenses, and do not count against a person's expungement eligibility. But the offense in Part 5 of the traffic code involving DUI and related offenses are often treated very seriously by prosecutors and by judges. These offenses can also be inlcuded in a person's official criminal history, and will considered by BCI in determining expungement eligibility for other offenses as well.

Finding a Utah DUI Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Utah Criminal LawyerEven a first DUI conviction in Utah can carry stiff penalties including jail time, substantial fines, losing your driver's license, increased insurance costs, and more. If you are facing DUI or other criminal charges in Utah, an experienced criminal defense attorney can make all the difference.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard has a track record of real success in defending clients against some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah. Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.


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  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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