DUI / DWI arrests that take place on federally owned land, such as national parks and military bases, are prosecuted in federal court. The potential punishment for a federal drunk driving conviction depends on the laws that were applied to the case.
If the arrest took place in a national park, the offense is governed by the Code of Federal Regulation. If the DUI arrest took place on any other federally owned land, the court will apply the law of the state in which the arrest took place, through the Assimilative Crimes Act. A California lawyer who has experience defending federal DUI / DWI cases can determine the applicable law in each case, and devise a strategy to fight the charges.
Under the Code of Federal Regulations, a drunk driving arrest in a national park is a Class B misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors can be punished with up to six months in a federal penitentiary and a fine of up to $5,000. The driver also can be placed on probation for up to five years.
DUI arrests on any other federal land are prosecuted under the law of the state where the arrest took place. In California, a misdemeanor drunk driving conviction can result in court punishment that includes fines of up to $1,000 and a possible jail term. Felony DUI can result in a jail sentence and fines up to $5,000.
Federal DUI / DWI cases involving a chemical test refusal carry additional punishments. Individuals driving on federal lands are subject to implied consent – just as under state law, drivers arrested on suspicion of DUI are required to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine.
Refusal to submit to a chemical test is a misdemeanor under the Code of Federal Regulations, and the driver faces additional fines and imprisonment. The driver also will be denied driving privileges on federal lands for one year, beginning on the date of arrest.
The Code of Federal Regulations does not provide for mandatory driver’s license suspensions in refusal cases, but the driver’s state DMV will be notified of a chemical test refusal conviction, and will then impose the same license restrictions associated with a DUI / DWI conviction under state law.
Because the possible penalties in a federal DUI / DWI case can be so severe, it’s important to have excellent legal representation. An attorney experienced in defending federal drunk driving cases can devise the best legal strategy to fight and win each case.