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Virginia Senate passes bill preventing DUI arrest on private land

Many people enjoy an alcoholic beverage on occasion. Typically, the understanding is that one should not be driving after drinking alcohol or one may face a DUI arrest. A recent bill passed in the Virginia Senate would alter that understanding and allow a person to drive drunk on their own private property. 

A bill, dubbed SB 308, originally aimed to clarify that the state law against driving under the influence applied only to public roadways and that private property was exempt from drunk driving rules. Opponents spoke out against this bill, citing concerns about individuals harming others while on private property such as amusement parks as an example. The bill was then killed in committee. 

The bill was brought back up for reconsideration after some changes to the language of it. Supporters of the bill intended for a citizen to be exempt from being charged with a DUI while on their own property, such as in cases where the person is sitting in a parked car and drinking an alcoholic beverage on his or her own residential property. The bill was then approved in committee, and passed the Senate a few days after it was revised and resurrected. 

Some Virginia senators wish to expand the rights of individuals to live their lives as they see fit, at least while on their own private property. A person could still face a DUI arrest if found to be driving under the influence on the state and local roadways. An arrest is not a conviction, however, and a person has the option to defend against criminal charges. Many choose to fight drunk driving charges with help by using an experienced attorney to build a strong defense. 

Source: USA Today, "Virginia Senate bill allowing drunk driving on private property passes", Jessica Wetzler, Feb. 9, 2018

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