Can I Get a Traffic Ticket on Private Property

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Can I get a traffic ticket on private property?

As with any answer in the legal field, the answer is “it depends.”   Generally, motor vehicle laws limit police officer’s jurisdiction or authority to highways and public roads.  However, there are a number of exceptions to the general rule. Let’s look at these examples:

  1. Officer observes you run a stop sign. You pull into a commercial shopping strip (private property). The entire public has free access to this private property. The officer can pull you over for running the stop sign without issue.


  1. Officer observes you run a stop sign. You pull down a private drive leading to a private home. The public does not have access. If a normal citizen were to enter this drive, you could file charges for trespassing. The officer does not have the right to enter this private drive in order to pursue a traffic stop.


  1. Officer observes you run a stop sign. You pull into your driveway at your house. Any citizen has access to your driveway. There is no gate and no reasonable expectation of privacy. When in your driveway, any other person of the general public could contact you – from a next door neighbor to kids selling girl scout cookies. The officer equally has the right to contact you, i.e. they can conduct a traffic stop.

Can you drive a car on private property without a license?

As long as you are operating your vehicle on private property and with the owner’s permission, you don’t need a license to drive on the property.

What happens if you have a car accident on private property?

An accident is one the exceptions to the general rule. If you are involved in an accident, or accused of driving under the influence, an officer can write you a ticket anywhere – public or private.

Is a shopping mall parking lot private property?

Yes, a shopping plaza mall is private property. However, an officer can still write you a ticket when you don’t obey the laws and the shopping plaza parking lot is one that is used as a through street. Using the information above as a reference point, one of the major areas to consider when attempting to determine if state traffic laws apply to your community’s roads is to look at how private the roads really are and how they are utilized. Even if the Association is solely responsible for upkeep and maintenance, if the general public can or does access the roads, it is likely that state traffic laws apply.

Look at OCGA 40-6-3 for the specific law…


Why Bixon Law?

Bixon Law is a criminal defense firm only. We handle all types of criminal cases, and yes, traffic violations are criminal cases! If you have been cited for violating a traffic law on private or public property, call us today!



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