What Is a Federal DUI & Do I Need an Attorney?

person drinking while driving car

Definition & Distinction from State DUI

When most people think of DUI charges, they envision state laws and local police stops. However, a Federal DUI is a distinct category of offense that occurs on federal property.

This can include:

  • National parks
  • Military bases
  • Government-owned buildings and parking lots
  • Federal courthouses
  • Airports regulated by federal authorities
  • National monuments
  • Properties managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Essentially, if you are found to be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol on any land owned by the federal government, you may find yourself facing federal DUI charges.

How Federal DUI Cases Are Pursued

The prosecution process for federal DUI cases differs from that of state-level DUI cases. If you are arrested for a DUI on federal land, you will be prosecuted by a U.S. Attorney and tried in a federal court. This means that federal legal standards and procedures will apply throughout your case. Federal DUIs are taken very seriously, and the penalties can be severe.

Federal DUI quick facts:

  • 36 CFR § 4.23 defines a DUI as having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.
  • A federal DUI on land managed by the National Park Service is a class B misdemeanor.
  • You may face fines of up to $5,000.
  • You may also be sentenced to up to 5 years of probation.
  • Federal DUI charges on any other non-national park, federally owned land are typically sentenced according to state DUI guidelines.

The Assimilative Crimes Act & Federal DUIs Outside National Park Service Jurisdiction

The Assimilative Crimes Act (ACA) allows federal authorities to enforce state DUI laws on federal properties not governed by specific federal statutes (like those cases happening on National Park land). This means that if you are arrested for a DUI on federal land, the penalties and procedures will align with the DUI laws of the state in which the federal land is located. For example, if you are arrested for a DUI on Naval Air Station Oceana, you will likely be prosecuted based on Virginia's DUI laws.

Implied Consent in Federal DUIs

As with state DUIs, implied consent laws apply in federal DUI cases. This means that by driving on federal land, you automatically consent to submit to chemical tests if suspected of driving under the influence. Refusing these tests can result in severe consequences, including fines and an automatic license suspension.

What to Do If You Are Arrested for a Federal DUI

If you are arrested for a federal DUI, it is crucial to take immediate and strategic steps to protect your rights and build a solid defense. The first thing we encourage you to do is seek legal representation from a qualified attorney experienced in handling federal DUI cases.

Four steps to take if arrested on suspicion of a federal DUI:

  1. Stay calm and compliant
  2. Exercise your right to remain silent
  3. Contact an attorney immediately
  4. Document as much as possible

If you are arrested for a DUI while on federally owned land, The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller is here to guide you. Our firm is highly experienced in handling both state and federal DUI cases, ensuring that we are well-equipped to address the unique challenges of your situation.

Our firm offers comprehensive DUI services, including cases involving:

  • Underage DUI charges
  • Out-of-state DUI charges
  • Drug-based DUIs
  • Breath test refusals
  • Felony DUIs

We understand that facing federal charges can be daunting, but with our extensive knowledge and proven track record, you can trust us to provide robust legal support. From the moment of your arrest to the resolution of your case, The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller is ready to put our experience to work for you.

Schedule a consultation online.

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