Charlie Buttrey

October 10, 2019

I was recently speaking about the law in a high school driver’s ed class, and was focusing on DWI.

For the uninitiated, there are four elements to the offense of DWI: (1) operation; (2) motor vehicle; (3) public way; and (4) impairment to the slightest degree or, in the alternative, a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher.

I walked the class through those four elements, but the one that I think is blog-worthy is the third element, that of a “public way.” We all know what a “public way” is, right? A highway. A side street. A Class IV road. The parking lot of a shopping center.

So, I asked these eager young scholars (and, I ask you, gentle reader): Is the frozen surface of a lake a “public way”?

Shame on you who answered no. The Vermont Supreme Court has said otherwise.

I’ll give you another shot. Is your own driveway a “public way”?

You should have known better. The answer is yes. The Vermont Supreme Court has said so.

There’s a lesson here somewhere.


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