OWI on Private Property – It could happen to you.

Drunk Driving OWI Requires Operating in a Place Accessible to Motor Vehicles

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Team

In Michigan, police can charge a driver with Operating While Intoxicated if he or she drove a vehicle on private property if the location was accessible to other motor vehicles (even if another vehicle would be trespassing).

A Michigan case has recently been decided that will significantly impact future OWI charges in Michigan. People v Rea is a case involving a drunk driving OWI case on private property. The police were called to Rea’s home on a noise complaint. When they arrived, they witnessed Rea back his car about 25 feet before stopping in line with his house and then pulling his car back into the garage. The car was in Rae’s side or backyard. Rae was arrested and charged with drunk driving OWI.

The trial court granted a motion to dismiss, and the Michigan Court of Appeal affirmed, stating, “the upper portion of Rea’s private residential driveway does not constitute an area “generally accessible to motor vehicles.”  Further, that the “vehicle was not in an area open to the general public.” The general public is not generally permitted to access that portion of a private driveway immediately next to a private residence.

The Michigan Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals. It ruled that because the defendant’s OWI occurred in an area generally accessible to motor vehicles, Rea’s driving was illegal under Michigan’s OWI laws, even if it is private property.  Prosecutors will likely charge defendants who are found to be operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs on private property, like driveways, because virtually any area of private property can be accessed by a car (or truck). The word “generally” has been rendered meaningless by the Supreme Court’s decision and is now interpreted as “possibly.”

Highly Experienced and Respected OWI Defense Attorneys in Michigan

The law firm of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has received many impressive awards from multiple distinguished legal establishments. We defend every OWI with the highest caliber of skill and dedication. Whether on public or private property, any OWI case is defensible if the lawyer is creative, savvy, and thinks outside the box.

  • Martindale-Hubbell – AV Preeminent (Highest Possible Rating)
  • “10 Best” DUI/DWI Lawyers
  • Thompson-Reuters – SuperLawyer
  • NAFDD – Nationally Ranked Superior DUI Attorney
  • dBusiness Top Lawyers – White Collar Crime
  • Top Attorneys in Michigan – Published in the New York Times
  • American Jurisprudence Award
  • Dean Arnold E. Schnieder Award
  • Client Distinction Award
  • Top Attorney in Michigan – Published in Crain’s Detroit Business
  • Lead Counsel Rated
  • 10 Best Client Satisfaction Award – American Institute of DUI/DWI Lawyers
  • Top 20 Defense Lawyer in Detroit
  • Lead Counsel Rated Criminal Law
  • Top 100 DUI Lawyers
  • Category I – Certified in the Defense of Life Maximum Offenses
  • Lead Counsel rated Criminal Law State Felon & Misdemeanors
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

The premier law firm in Michigan regarding criminal defense matters.  

The firm’s attorneys are creative and cutting-edge thinkers that go the extra mile to protect the client.

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has represented thousands of clients charged with felony and misdemeanor drunk driving OWI offenses, on public or private property.  The firm’s attorneys are considered some of the finest in the State of Michigan. They have tried and won cases in state and federal courts all over the United States. The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are award-winning. We take great pride in thinking outside the box and coming up with new and innovative defenses to protect the firm’s clients. Our record for success and a long history of satisfied clients is well known throughout Michigan. If you have a criminal law issue or questions or know someone who does, please contact LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., and we will find a way to help you.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
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