DiCindio Law LLC | March 19, 2021 | DUI
Some people in Pennsylvania think that they cannot be charged with a DUI if they are in their driveways. However, that is not necessarily true. You can be charged with a DUI even when you are on your property. Regardless of what happened, you should talk to an experienced PA DUI attorney. At DiCindio Law, we can evaluate your charges and help you to defend against them.
DUI law in Pennsylvania
Some states specifically refer to motorists being on a public highway before they can be charged with DUI offenses. However, under Pennsylvania’s DUI statute, no mention of a public roadway is made. Instead, 38 Pa.CS § 3802 prohibits people from driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of their vehicles’ movements after they have drunk enough alcohol to be impaired. Under this definition, you can be in your driveway and be arrested for a DUI if you are under the influence of alcohol and behind the wheel of your vehicle.
Actual physical control
Pennsylvania’s statute includes driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of a vehicle. Being in actual physical control of your vehicle means that you could reasonably drive your vehicle even if it is not turned on.
When people are in driveways, they might be stopped by a police officer who suspects that they have recently returned home or are about to back out while under the influence. This prevents people from arguing that they were not driving at the time the officer stopped them since they could have recently driven or were about to drive while intoxicated.
If you have your keys and are capable of driving, the officer might accuse you of being in actual physical control of your vehicle rather than having to present evidence that you were driving. This law makes it important for you to avoid getting into your vehicle when you have been drinking alcohol even if it is parked in your driveway.
What do police look for?
In most cases in which someone is charged with a DUI in his or her driveway, the officer will have previously observed the person’s vehicle being operated in an unsafe manner before the person made it home.
Some of the types of driving behaviors that police look for include the following:
- Failing to obey traffic control devices
- Revving the engine
- Swerving within a lane
- Excessive honking
- Delayed reactions
Your neighbors might also call the police if you are engaging in obnoxious behaviors. This can bring the police to your property, and if they find you in your car with your car keys, they can charge you with a DUI if you have been drinking.
The legal limit in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, you can be charged with a general impairment DUI if you have a blood alcohol concentration between 0.08% and 0.099%. However, the police can also charge you with a DUI if they believe that the amount of alcohol you drunk has made you incapable of driving safely. However, in the case of arresting you out of your driveway, if you had a very low BAC that was less than the legal limit or an unmeasured BAC, the officer will need to have strong evidence to show why you were incapable of driving safely.
Can the police charge you with a DUI on a lawnmower?
You can be charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania if you are on a riding lawnmower, but that is unlikely to happen. One case in Pennslyvania in 2015 involved a man who was arrested for a DUI on a riding lawnmower while carrying beer. However, he was not in his yard and was instead riding his lawnmower down the street.
What if you are sleeping it off in your car?
If you get into an argument with your spouse while drinking and decide to go sleep it off in your vehicle, you can be charged with a DUI. The officer may decide that you are in actual physical control of your car even though you are asleep. The prosecutor might look for evidence that you were operating your car before you fell asleep. For example, if you drove away from your house to the corner store before returning to your driveway, the prosecutor might find witnesses who saw you driving.
Get help from a DUI attorney near me
Pennsylvania’s DUI laws are strict. You can be charged with a DUI even though you were parked in your driveway at the time of your stop. If an officer saw you driving erratically before you reached your home, he or she could find you in your driveway and have reasonable suspicion to stop you.
If your neighbors called the police because of you acting erratically, the officers can also come to your home and charge you with a DUI if they believe you were operating your vehicle or are in actual physical control of it. Your driveway is not a safe zone protecting you from a DUI arrest.
Contact Our DUI Law Firm in West Chester, PA
If you are facing criminal charges and need legal help, contact the West Chester, PA DUI lawyers at DiCindioLaw, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.
DiCindio Law, LLC
29 S Walnut St
West Chester, PA 19382
***This blog article is made available by the law firm publisher for educational purposes and to provide general information, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the publisher. The above-listed information does not include the entire criminal code, annotations, amendments, or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. Please contact DiCindio Law, LLC for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case.***