You may be returning home after a night out and be shocked to find a police car driving up behind you as you pull into your driveway. If the police officer asks if you’ve been drinking that night, you may be surprised, assuming that since you are home safe, you cannot get a DUI.
Yes, you can
This is not true. Pennsylvania has strict DUI laws. The Pennsylvania DUI statute states that you can be charged with a DUI if you are in actual physical control of your vehicle. You are not protected once you are in your driveway.
However, the police officer must still have reasonable suspicion to stop you. They may have seen you driving before you got to your driveway and believed you were displaying signs of driving while intoxicated. Your neighbors or other drivers could also have seen you driving erratically and called the police, who followed you to your home.
Both these situations would probably provide police with reasonable suspicion to justify the initial stop. The police officer might even have simply seen you pull into your driveway late at night and decide to stop you, reasoning that the late hour caused suspicion that you were driving under the influence.
Knowing that you can still be stopped for a DUI while in your driveway is important. Drivers who are not aware of this law can become confrontational or aggressive with the police officers, believing that they should not have been stopped.
What you should do if stopped
Your best course of action if you are stopped in your driveway is to act the same as you should act if you are stopped anywhere else.
Provide the officer with your identification, but do not say anything else. Do not admit to drinking any alcohol. You also do not have to consent to field sobriety tests, but you could face additional penalties if you refuse a breathalyzer and are ultimately arrested for a DUI.
There are plenty of potential defenses available if you are charged with a DUI, regardless of where you were at the time. An experienced criminal attorney can help you prepare a strong defense.