How DUI State Laws Interact With Federal Law

Did you know that every day thirty-two people die in drunk driving-related accidents? With DUI accidents being so deadly, it’s no surprise that most states crack down hard on them.

But did you know that you could also get a federal DUI? If you want to learn more about how federal law affects DUI state laws, then you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll give you a quick breakdown of how these two different law sets interact. Let’s get started!

What Is a Federal DUI?

Most of the time, a DUI will fall under the jurisdiction of state courts. However, this isn’t always the case. In some cases, a DUI can occur on federal property.

When this happens, the person is charged according to federal DUI laws instead of the state laws. Like state laws, a federal DUI occurs when a driver has a BAC of over .08%, above the legal limit of alcohol.

Additionally, if they’re under twenty-one years of age, then there’s a zero-tolerance alcohol law. Instead of being resolved in the local court, this type of specialized DUI will need to be dealt with in federal court.

What Is Considered Federal Land?

Just because a DUI occurs in a state doesn’t always make it the jurisdiction of that state. If it’s on federal grounds, then it’s a federal DUI law.

So, what is considered federal land? Here are some of the common areas where it falls under this jurisdiction:

  • Military bases
  • National parks
  • Certain types of airports
  • Government compounds
  • Federal courthouses
  • Parking lots that are found on federal lands
  • National monuments
  • Post offices
  • Any land that’s owned by a government agency

So, if you get caught driving intoxicated in any of these areas, then you will be charged by federal laws instead of state ones.


You can get charged with a federal DUI. But what about a federal DWI charge? To understand this concept, we need to know the difference between a DUI and DWI. The difference depends on what state you’re in.

In some states, the terms are interchangeable. Other states reserve DWI strictly for people driving under the influence of drugs or other unknown substances.

That being said, there’s no such thing as federal DWI. Still, you should always check the laws of the state you’re living in.

And if you want to learn more about the difference between these two concepts, then you can learn more from this article.

Appreciate Learning About DUI State Laws? Keep Reading

We hope this article helped you learn more about how DUI state laws affect federal laws. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re being charged for a state DUI or a federal one.

You will still need to find a good attorney to defend you. So, get in touch with one today. Did you appreciate this article? Keep reading to find more educational content just like it.

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