If you are on federal property and are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, the coming days and weeks can be difficult. Just as it is against the law to drive while intoxicated on state and local roads, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated on federal roads, such as the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Federal regulations prohibit drunk driving
Under the Federal Code of Regulations you cannot operate a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that it makes you incapable of safely operating your vehicle. Also, like state law, under federal law you cannot operate a motor vehicle while you have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater.
If the results of a breath test show that your BAC is 0.08 or greater, this is enough to provide police with probable cause to arrest you. However, a lower BAC does not necessarily mean you are off the hook. If police have probable cause based on observations and/or field sobriety tests that you cannot safely drive due to alcohol consumption you can be arrested for drunk driving.
Consequences of a federal DWI
The consequences of a federal DWI are very serious. First, your case will be heard in federal criminal court, not state court. You may need more extensive evidence in your defense. In addition, the penalties you can face if you are convicted can be severe. Depending on the circumstances, you may even be sentenced to federal prison for a DWI on federal property.
No one intends to drive while drunk, and you would certainly never imagine yourself doing so. Still, police on federal roads will be on the lookout for drunk drivers and you could get pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. If this happens on a federal road, it is good to know what the law says on this topic so you can make informed decisions moving forward.