Driver Claims Casino Tribal Jurisdiction Voids DUI Charge

by Joseph C. Maya on Apr. 24, 2017

Criminal DUI-DWI Government  US Courts 

Summary: Blog post on the issue of whether Connecticut police officers have jurisdiction to charge someone with a DUI on highway on Native American land leading to a casino.

For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney, please call the offices of Maya Murphy, P.C. today at (203) 221-3100 or Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at

In the case of the State v. Brodeur, a driver was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) while on an Indian reservation's access road and parking lot used in connection with the reservation's gambling establishment. The driver moved to dismiss and argued the State did not have jurisdiction to enforce DUI on the reservation.

Defendant argued (1) that the Connecticut law on use of highway by vehicles, was a civil, not a criminal statute, and (2) that neither the access road nor the parking lot he was on were public highways upon which the violation could occur. The driver therefore claimed that the reservation law and not state law applied, and that he could not to be charged with DUI in the state court. The State argued the opposite. The reservation argued that the access road was public, that the state had authority to enforce criminal laws, and that DUI was criminal. The case included arguments and discussion of the Mohegan Nation Land Claim Settlement Act, in which the United States gave power to the state to assume criminal jurisdiction on the reservation.

Therefore, the access road and parking lot were public highways for purposes state law, so the state could enforce the driver’s DUI. “First, the tribe and the state of Connecticut clearly, absolutely no if and buts about it, intended [a DUI] to be a part of this agreement . . . it's in the history, it's in their intent, it's in their conduct of how they've conducted themselves ever since” said the court. “I do not see a mall parking lot or a package store parking lot or anything--this is a sovereign nation with its own sovereignty within the confines of you know, I just don't see that.”

Maya Murphy P.C. has the resources and expertise to offer you the best possible representation throughout the criminal process. If you are facing criminal charges or wish to appeal your case, please call the offices of Maya Murphy, P.C. today at (203) 221-3100 or Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at

Source: State v. Brodeur, 2001 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3391, 2001 WL 1617175 (Conn. Super. Ct. Nov. 28, 2001)

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