State v. Boucher

In State v. Boucher, 207 Conn. 612, 541 A.2d 865 (1988), the defendant was arrested in a shopping center parking lot and charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor in violation of 14-227a (a). The defendant thereafter successfully sought to dismiss that charge, claiming that the parking lot did not come within the purview of 14-227a (a). Id., at 614. The Court reversed the holding that the parking lot was not "open to public use," as defined in 14-212 6, reasoning that "a place is 'public' to which the public is invited either expressly or by implication to come for the purpose of trading or transacting business." Id., at 616. The Supreme Court reviewed the legislative history and intent of the statute and further explained that "the legislature enacted the statutes governing the operation of motor vehicles for the protection of all of the citizens of this state . . . not just those who patronize large shopping centers." Id., at 618. The Supreme Court concluded "that the legislature, in enacting 14-227a and 14-212 6, intended to extend the prohibition against operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor to any parking area for ten or more cars to which that indefinite group labeled 'the public' is invited or permitted to use." Id., at 618-19. Although the circumstances at issue in Boucher were somewhat different from those now before us, we find the foregoing analysis to be instructive. In holding that the shopping center parking lot came within the statute's definition of "open to public use," the Supreme Court observed that "the legislatures and the courts have emphasized the need to protect the public from drunk drivers whether on streets or highways or other public or private property." Id., at 618.