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PRIVATE PROPERTY DUI


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4/20/2012
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I found this story in a news paper called The Daily Commercial, out of Leesburg, Florida.  It isn’t clear why Dennis Kaywood Jones wanted to drive out of his driveway at 10:00 a.m.  What is clear is that he never actually made it off of his property.  Neighbors called to report Mr. Jones continuously smashing into trees and fences along his driveway.  This went on for about 15 minutes before the cops showed up.  When they got there they found Mr. Jones stuck in a hole he created with his spinning tires.  Upon questioning, Mr. Jones allegedly admitted to drinking “less than one pint of vodka this morning.” His breath test result was .252%, more than triple the .08% legal limit. 
This story brings up the important topic of intoxicated driving on private property.  In California, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence.  The law does not require that you drive on public property.  I remember a case from Mendocino County were someone drove into a creek along a dirt road on his property.  When an ambulance and a police officer responded the guy was shocked to learn that the officer was arresting him for DUI. 
Probably the strangest example of this was a case I saw in Orange County.  The three sheets drunken defendant crashed a red electric shopping cart intended for handicapped shoppers into a beer display.  He was charged with felony DUI, because he had three prior DUIs within 10 years.  The electric cart fit the definition of “motor vehicle”, and it didn’t matter that he didn’t drive on a public road or seriously endanger anyone. 


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