Driving Under the Influence On National Park Service Land
If you are charged with a Federal DUI on the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, the Government must prove either:
- You are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination thereof to render the operator incapable of safe operation; OR
- Your alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
A Federal DUI is a Class B misdemeanor and can be sentenced to up to six months in Federal custody, a fine of up to $5,000, and supervised probation of up to five years.
A person charged with Federal DUI may be asked to undergo a breath test to determine his BAC level. If the driver refuses to give a breath sample, the officer may attempt to get a blood sample. Refusing to undergo a chemical test is grounds for another separate Federal criminal offense.
Administratively a Federal DUI is processed through the Central Violations Bureau (CVB), and this agency is typically responsible for scheduling court dates related to federal notices (or citations) resulting from traffic offenses occurring on federal property. Don’t be alarmed if you are not given a court date at the time you are issued a citation. Sometimes it can take several weeks for the CVB to send notice to you by mail of your court date. CVB Court for citations occurring on the Blue Ridge Parkway or Great Smokey Mountains National Park is normally held at the Federal Courthouse in Asheville. The judge presiding over CVB Court is typically a United States Magistrate Judge.
Trials for DUIs on National Park Service land are typically heard before a United States Magistrate Judge and the person charged does not have the right to a jury trial. A Federal DUI also does not have probation available before judgment, so if you are found guilty, it will immediately result in a conviction. Convictions do have an appeals process, but an appeal does not grant a new trial.