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Enforcement on Private Property

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  • Enforcement on Private Property

    Just a quick question I was wondering about. Can a police officer enforce MV laws on private property? For example, stop sign violations in the parking lot of a mall or a supermarket. Not that any officer would want to enforce such a stupid thing like that but COULD they? I'm not sure, because it is private property and I would assume it is up to the property owner.
    Everybody counts or no one counts.
    -Harry Bosch



    Some of you may remember that in my early days I was sort of a bleeding heart liberal. Then I became a man and put away childish things.
    -Ronald Reagan

  • #2
    Since this is a totally hypothetical question I'll give you an answer from the UK: yes, some of the traffic laws apply on private property. All of the traffic laws apply on some private property (private property can still be a "road" to which the law applies). Private stop signs are meaningless.

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    • #3
      In Iowa MOST and I repeat and stress MOST Motor Vehicle laws are restricted to public highways. There are a few that are "any where in the state". OWI is one.


      Originally posted by redsox2010 View Post
      Not that any officer would want to enforce such a stupid thing like that but COULD they?
      Why would you think it is a stupid thing. There are MANY traffic collisions in parking lots. Stop signs in parking lots (if obeyed) prevent many collisions.
      Last edited by Iowa #1603; 09-05-2011, 06:04 PM.
      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


      (F*** Off Cuz Ur Stupid)

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      • #4
        Laws aren't stupid, they help keep pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions low. There are laws in the MV code that we can enforce on private property; like Iowa mentioned DUI is one, in CO there are two others.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
          In Iowa MOST and I repeat and stress MOST Motor Vehicle laws are restricted to public highways. There are a few that are "any where in the state". OWI is one.




          Why would you think it is a stupid thing. There are MANY traffic collisions in parking lots. Stop signs in parking lots (if obeyed) prevent many collisions.
          I didn't mean that having stop signs in lots are stupid. I actually thought of this question while sitting in a lot the other day and watching every single car that passed by go right through the stop sign that was there without even making an attempt to slow down.

          I just meant that an officer is not likely to sit in the parking lot of a mall and enforce stop sign violations there.
          Everybody counts or no one counts.
          -Harry Bosch



          Some of you may remember that in my early days I was sort of a bleeding heart liberal. Then I became a man and put away childish things.
          -Ronald Reagan

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          • #6
            In Florida it is apparently quite different from what other officers have inidicated. Traffic laws on private property are enforceable, with a few exceptions. One of them is speeding over a posted limit. However, I could issue a citation for "too fast for conditions". The stop signs - as long as they generally conform to regulations 'could' be enforced.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by redsox2010 View Post
              Just a quick question I was wondering about. Can a police officer enforce MV laws on private property? For example, stop sign violations in the parking lot of a mall or a supermarket. Not that any officer would want to enforce such a stupid thing like that but COULD they? I'm not sure, because it is private property and I would assume it is up to the property owner.
              As far as Mass goes I will say yes we can provided that the public has a right to access the area and the area doesn't have any restrictions for traffic to enter such as barriers and check points, no posted trespassing signs etc. So the parking lot at the mall like you describe would be fair game.
              Last edited by Sgt Jack; 09-05-2011, 07:02 PM.
              "Massachusetts it's NOT All here!!!!"

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              • #8
                I'd be interested in your reasoning as to why enforcing a posted Stop sign is a stupid thing. Then again, I may be sorry I asked. In the Montgomery (Al) area, several of the major shopping malls have deeded their streets over to the City of Montgomery. More often than not, the painting and signage is already in compliance with Alabama DOT Standards. This allows the City of Montgomery to enforce all applicable provisions of Title 32 Code of Alabama Motor Vehicles and Traffic, plus any applicable municipal traffic ordinances. Other states may or may not have similar provisions, so it would be in your best interests to check applicable law in your state/municipality.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                  In Iowa MOST and I repeat and stress MOST Motor Vehicle laws are restricted to public highways. There are a few that are "any where in the state". OWI is one.
                  Wisconsin is pretty much the same. Some laws are applicable to anywhere that is "held open for public use", others are not.

                  Stop signs in parking lots are not enforceable, criminally. However, if you run one and cause an accident, you will be held fully liable in civil court.
                  Originally posted by kontemplerande
                  Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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                  • #10
                    You can in Texas. While you might not (or cannot...I'm still trying to find the applicability of all the traffic laws outside of Reckless Driving) want to stroke them for running a stop sign, speeding etc. you can stroke for Reckless Driving. That is if you feel as though they have driven with disregard to the safety of persons and property since it specifically lists private property where parking is provided for patrons by a business. The exceptions to this rule include Private RESIDENTIAL property / parking and a garage/parking lot where payment is secured for parking.
                    Last edited by blairian; 09-07-2011, 07:38 PM.

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                    • #11
                      The vast majority of minor wrecks happen in parking lots, so the laws aren't that stupid...

                      Anyways, in KS we can enforce the laws if the property owner gives us permission and posts a sign to that effect. All the apartment complexes in my jurisdiction have down that, so we pinch people for stop signs and speeding on those properties all the time.

                      Also, we can still enforce things like reckless driving, parking laws, cross walk laws, ect

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                      • #12
                        In Arizona DUI is the only enforceable traffic law on private property

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                        • #13
                          In NY a private roads and parking lot open to traffic, with access to a public roadway, and at least 4 parking spots is fair game for VTL enforcement including DWI arrest even if it's private property.

                          Other than that, you can drink and drive on your own property. For example, it is not unlawful for a homeowner to plow his driveway under the influence of alcohol as long as his driveway does not meet the criteria for a "private road" and he does not drive onto a public roadway. Snowmobilers are usually tanked, but as long as they stay on private property (farms usually) and they have permission to be there, they are not DWI. I personally don't care, and it's not really an issue unless there is an accident. In that instance, if you were charging someone for a crime (i.e. a drunken snowmobiler kills someone on private property) you would charge him under the penal law.
                          I make my living on Irish welfare.

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                          • #14
                            Only a limited number of offenses in Ohio can be cited while driving on private property.

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                            • #15
                              All of Title 55 of TN Code (traffic laws) can be enforced on any public or private road/lot that is open and frequented by the public at large. Now do officers in TN conduct any primary enforcement at Walmart? No, but if I get called to the lot and it was apparent by investigation the person was driving careless/reckless I can cite them. In TN I can even write a traffic cite and have a witness to the driving sign as prosecutor. They would have to appear in court and it's a he said/she said situation, but it's possible.
                              I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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