December 19, 2022

When can a DUI be a federal offense?

If someone is stopped on a city street or even on an interstate for suspicion of driving under the influence, any charge they face will be a state charge. While anything over an .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) across the country is considered drunk driving for adults in every state. However, other laws around drunk driving and possible penalties vary by state.

There are times, however, when a driver can be charged with a federal DUI. Where can you face a federal DUI charge?

Some locations where you can get a federal DUI

Basically, this can happen whenever you’re on any federally-owned property. Sometimes, that’s obvious – for example, if you’re in a national park. However, this also includes:

  • Military bases 
  • Federal courthouses 
  • National monuments 
  • Historic grounds
  • Any road or parking lot in any of these locations or property owned by the federal government 

Also keep in mind that if you’re a member of the military and arrested for DUI on a military base, you can also face charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

It’s important to know that “implied consent” laws apply on federal property. That means if you refuse a chemical test, like blowing into a breathalyzer-type machine, you can be arrested, regardless of whether you actually were over the legal limit or not. That’s different than in Michigan law, where refusing to take a test is only a civil infraction

This is just a brief overview of federal DUI charges. If you’ve been charged with a federal DUI, it’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance to protect your rights and work to reduce the charge or have it dismissed entirely.