Is DUI a Federal Crime?

On behalf of Patrick McLain Law | April 22, 2024

When you are arrested for a DUI, you face the potential for legal and personal consequences if you are convicted. However, there are certain occasions when federal DUI laws will override state laws. 

If your DUI charges amount to a federal crime, you’ll want a DUI lawyer to help defend you and protect your freedom. Patrick McLain Law is a leading law firm that specializes in DUI defense. Our extensive experience allows us to provide sound legal advice to those facing DUI charges, particularly if federal DUI laws are applicable. In this informative blog post, we will answer the question, “Is DUI a federal crime?” to help you better understand your legal rights. 

When Is DUI a Federal Offense?

A DUI in Florida becomes a matter for the federal courts when the action is conducted on federal property. If you are stopped by the police on federal land such as at an airport, post office, national park, national monument, or a military base, you may face federal DUI charges rather than those simply imposed by your state. Your penalties will range in severity based on the extent of your actions. 

A DUI charge in your state will result from being over the legal limit. In Florida, the limit is 0.08%. If you had a higher BAC at the time of your arrest on federal land, you may face a more severe punishment. 

What Are the Penalties of Federal Charges for DUI?

Under federal DUI laws, you will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. If you are convicted, this will mean serving six months in a federal prison, a fine of $5,000 maximum, and five years of federal probation. 

Misdemeanors may not be as serious as felonies, though they will be on your criminal record. This will impact employment opportunities and housing and could even damage your personal relationships. 

Understanding the Process of a Trial with Federal Charges for DUI

If you are facing federal DUI charges, you will be tried in the U.S. Federal District Court in your state of arrest. This process will be much like a state trial where you will appear for an arraignment and enter your plea. Your lawyer may introduce various motions before trial. In some cases, the prosecutor may offer a plea deal. Otherwise, your case will proceed to trial. It is essential to have a criminal defense lawyer who understands these processes and can fight for your legal rights. Your attorney will present evidence and speak with witnesses. They will also provide a strong defense strategy specific to your case.

The Importance of Legal Representation When Facing Federal DUI Charges

Most people who are arrested on DUI charges will be subject to state laws. However, if you were pulled over on suspicion of DUI on federal land, these federal DUI charges may apply. 

Both state and federal DUI charges have the potential to tarnish your reputation and take away your freedom. It may seem hopeless, but it’s important to keep in mind that an officer must have a reason to pull you over in the first place. If this can’t be shown, then your case may be dismissed. 

The biggest mistake anyone can make when facing state or federal DUI charges is to attempt to explain their way out of it. Contact Patrick McLain Law to come to your defense against these charges.


Category: DUI