Federal DUI Law: Defenses for Cases in National Parks

Feature Article

The Ins and Outs of Federal DUI Law in National Parks

Picture the scene: you're on vacation in a national park, enjoying the stunning scenery, and decide to take a drive. Perhaps you've had a glass of wine with dinner, and you're feeling perfectly fine to operate the vehicle. However, if you're caught driving under the influence (DUI) in a national park, you could find yourself facing federal charges. So, what's the deal with federal DUI laws in national parks, and how do you defend yourself if you're facing charges?

The Basics: Federal DUI Charges and Penalties

To put it simply, a DUI charge in a national park falls under federal jurisdiction, rather than state. This means that you could be charged with a federal offense, and the penalties for a federal DUI can be severe. For example, first-time offenders can face up to six months in jail and a fine of $5,000. The penalties increase for subsequent offenses and can include a lengthy prison sentence and a hefty fine.

What Makes a Federal DUI Different from a State DUI Charge?

One of the main differences between a federal DUI charge and a state charge is the location of the offense. As we've already established, a DUI in a national park falls under federal jurisdiction. But why is this? The answer lies in the fact that national parks are federal land and are therefore subject to federal laws. However, it's worth noting that state DUI laws can still apply within national parks under certain circumstances, such as when driving on a public road within the park boundaries.

Who Can Charge You with a Federal DUI?

So, who has the power to charge you with a federal DUI if you're caught driving under the influence in a national park? Generally speaking, law enforcement rangers within the national park have the authority to arrest individuals for DUI offenses. However, other federal agencies, such as the National Park Service or the U.S. Forest Service, may also be involved, depending on the location of the offense.

Defenses for Federal DUI Cases in National Parks

If you're facing a federal DUI charge in a national park, you may be wondering what your defense options are. There are several potential defenses that your lawyer may be able to use, including challenging the legality of the stop, questioning the accuracy of the field sobriety tests, and disputing the results of a breathalyzer or blood test.

Are Crimes in National Parks Treated Differently Than Those Outside the Parks?

It's not just DUI offenses that are treated differently within national parks; other crimes can also result in federal charges. In general, crimes committed within national parks fall under federal jurisdiction, which means that federal agencies will investigate and prosecute these offenses. This can also impact the sentencing for these crimes, as federal penalties tend to be more severe than state penalties for similar offenses.

What National Parks in Arizona Could I Be Charged with a Federal DUI?

If you're planning a trip to Arizona and want to avoid any potential federal DUI charges, it's important to know which national parks in the state could land you in hot water. Some of the national parks in Arizona where federal DUI charges may apply include the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro National Parks.


A federal DUI charge in a national park can be a daunting prospect, with potentially severe penalties if convicted. However, working with an experienced defense attorney who understands federal law and the particularities of national park offenses can help you build a strong defense and achieve the best possible outcome in your case. If you're facing federal DUI charges in a national park, don't hesitate to reach out to a qualified attorney today.

Federal DUI Law: Defenses for Cases in National Parks