Federal DUI Laws: The Ultimate Guide to Federal Law on DUI

If you have been charged with a DUI by the federal government, it is important to understand how federal DUI laws might impact your case. This guide will clarify how these laws work and inform you of your next steps if you are facing charges.

The Basics of Federal DUI Laws


Driving under the influence is deemed a federal crime if it happens on any property under federal jurisdiction, owned by the federal government, or on another location that is considered federal property.

Federal land usually includes national parks, national monuments, national cemeteries, military bases, federal courthouse parking lots and driveways, airfields and airports, parking lots on federal land, post offices, and government compounds.

Under federal law, individuals driving on federal land must submit to urine, breath, or blood tests to determine alcohol concentration if they are arrested since they drive under implied consent law. Individuals who refuse to comply may be denied privileges to drive on federal land for up to one year.

Although individuals have committed DUI if they are driving under the influence while traveling through federally owned land, they may also face the same charges if the crime occurred on other federal property. Bear in mind that a federal DUI conviction can have severe social and legal consequences.

Given the complexity of federal charges, it is essential to contact a criminal defense lawyer when you face federal DUI charges. The law office of Valery Nechay has been helping people charged with federal criminal DUI charges for years. As a trusted San Francisco federal defense lawyer, Valery Nechay has the experience, training, and education to represent you in federal criminal court and obtain favorable outcomes.

Federal Laws on DUI


If a DUI occurred on land owned by the federal government, the DUI offense would be governed by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). According to the CFR, a person may be charged with a federal DUI if:

  • They are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or any combination that makes them incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle; or
  • If their blood alcohol content (BAC) when they are subjected to a breathalyzer is 0.08 grams or more of alcohol for every 100 ml of blood or 0.08 grams or more of alcohol for every 210 liters of breath; or
  • They are above the limit established by state law, even if it is more restrictive.

A federal DUI is usually deemed a Class B misdemeanor. DUI charges may attract punishment of up to six months, supervised probation for up to five years, or monetary fines not exceeding $5000.

It is important to note that refusing to submit to a chemical test when asked to by a national park police officer is a separate criminal offense under implied consent laws. You are also not allowed to choose the type of blood alcohol test that the police will administer.

Like arrests made by a San Francisco Sheriff’s Deputy, San Francisco Police Officer, California Highway Patrol Officer, or other law enforcement officers, any officer on federal lands has similar authority.

They can seize the driver’s license of a person arrested for DUI if their BAC test returns results showing an alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. They can also arrest anyone whose blood test does not produce a result or who refuses to take the chemical test.

If your driver’s license has been seized, you will typically have ten days to submit a motion for the hearing of your case with the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Driver Safety Office.

If you do not file for a hearing at the DMV within ten days of your arrest on federal land, your driving license will automatically be suspended for at least four months.

If you have been arrested on federal DUI charges, you should contact the Law Office of Valery Nechay. Federal criminal lawyer Valery Nechay is on standby to help with your federal criminal defense. Contact the office today for your first free consultation and a trusted legal professional will help you on the way forward.

Federal DUI Statute


The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations is the basis of federal DUI law. A defendant will be charged with a federal DUI offense if they are found driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a BAC greater than 0.08.

Federally owned lands where a person may be charged with a DUI include military bases, national parks, national monuments, airports, government compounds, and post offices. However, the most common places where these offenses occur are national parks and military bases.

The location of the offense usually determines the severity of punishment, with DUIs on a national park and a military base attracting more severe punishment.

Under National Park Service Laws, driving under the influence of alcohol or impaired due to illegal or prescription drugs on federal land administered by the National Park Service is a Class B misdemeanor.

Valery Nechay of the Law Office of Valery Nechay is an experienced lawyer ready to provide you with a legal defense if you face a federal DUI charge. Standing among the top DUI lawyers in San Francisco, she provides compassionate and personalized legal care and can offer the advice you need for favorable outcomes in your case.

Federal DUI Penalties


In most instances of a DUI charge, you will usually deal with prosecution from the state. If you are arrested for committing a DUI on state property, you could spend time in county jail or have your license suspended. Upon DUI conviction, you could expect penalties that may include:

In many instances, the judge may use their discretion and order that an ignition interlock is installed on your vehicle for the first offense. If you are convicted on a second charge, you will have the interlock device installed on your car for at least a year.

DUI cases on national park property will usually be charged under the Code of Federal Regulations. If you commit a DUI offense on federal land, federal law will be applicable, and California state penalties for driving under the influence would be invoked.

If you have been charged with a federal DUI charge, we are here to help you with your case. Valery Nechay has a comprehensive background in the legal defense of people charged with DUI committed on federal property. Contact the office today so that she can establish an attorney-client relationship and begin working on your case.

Difference Between State and Federal DUI Charges


One of the main differences between a federal and state DUI charge is that if you are arrested for DUI on federal property, you will have to go to federal court and be prosecuted by a U.S. District Attorney.

The case will usually be heard before federal charges rather than a jury. Nonetheless, while it can result in a jail sentence, the federal criminal justice system considers this a minor offense.

According to the U.S. Code, crimes such as DUI when committed on federal lands will be enforced under federal law even as state laws remain applicable. This means criminal penalties for federal DUIs can mirror the DUI penalties usually enforced by the state under the federal Assimilative Crimes Act.

It is important to note that you may have to pay up to $5000 if you commit a DUI in a national park, even if you are a first-time offender. Moreover, you will also have to serve your sentence in federal prison rather than locally.

Given these complexities, it is vital to contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney when arrested on federal charges. The Law Office of Valery Nechay is dedicated to providing solid criminal defense for federal and state DUI charges.

What Is the Law on DUI?


Since a DUI on federal land is an offense under federal law, the judicial proceedings will typically be prosecuted in federal court. Members of the military charged while at the military base will also be prosecuted in federal courts.

Penalties for military personel will include regular criminal penalties in addition to military penalties. These could consist of anything from demotion in rank to a letter of reprimand or dismissal from the military.

The federal court processes are very similar to state court processes as they involve an arraignment after which the defendant will offer their defense.

If you have been arrested on federal property for driving under the influence, you must immediately contact a professional DUI attorney. The Law Office of Valery Nechay has handled countless federal criminal defense cases and is ready to help you begin moving forward.


If you are under investigation or charged with a crime, I will consult with you in person and at no charge to you.