You were out drinking with some friends, felt fine enough to drive, and made the decision to drive yourself home. Though it wasn’t the right decision, you did it anyway. You made it into your driveway, but law enforcement pulls up behind you. Can you still be charged with a DUI even if you’re home? Many Pennsylvanians operate under the mistaken assumption that law enforcement can’t charge them with a DUI if they are found in their own driveways. However, even when found on your own property, Pennsylvania law enforcement can and will charge you with driving under the influence. For more information on how Pennsylvania police can charge you with DUI if they find you parked in your own driveway, please read on, then contact an experienced Pittsburgh first DUI lawyer today.
How can Pennsylvania police charge you with DUI when they find you parked in your own driveway?
Pennsylvania’s DUI statute states that, “an individual may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the individual is rendered incapable of safely driving.”
While the DUI statute does not mention “highways or roadways,” a section in Title 75 (traffic offenses) states that all offenses must occur on a highway or trafficway, which includes DUI. Therefore, though you can be charged with a DUI in your own driveway, law enforcement will have to prove that you drove yourself there in the first place.
How does Pennsylvania law enforcement prove you have just driven drunk?
Prosecutors will ask the jury to look at the totality of the circumstances to determine whether a drunk motorist was operating or in actual physical control of the vehicle on a highway or trafficway. In plainer terms, the prosecution will ask the jury to consider the following circumstances:
- Any witnesses, including the police officer, who may have seen you driving
- The location of the driver: What was the driver’s physical proximity to the ignition of the vehicle?
- The location of the car: Does the car’s location indicate that the person was driving before the police arrived?
- The accessibility of the driver’s keys: Were the keys within reach or in the ignition?
- Whether the car’s engine was running: Had the driver just parked after driving on a highway or trafficway?
What are the penalties for a DUI while parked in your own driveway in Pennsylvania?
Regardless of where police stop you, the penalties for a DUI conviction will depend on the number of times, if any, you have sustained convictions for this or related offenses and your level of intoxication at the time of your arrest. Penalties for a first-time general impairment DUI include:
- Ungraded misdemeanor
- Up to six months probation
- A $300 fine
- Potential attendance in alcohol highway school
- Potential court-ordered treatment
Speak with a skilled Allegheny County DUI lawyer if you face DUI charges.
Contact Our Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer
If you are facing a DUI charge, contact The Law Offices of George Heym to schedule your free initial consultation.