If I was sitting in my own car drinking beer in the driveway at my house, can I get arrested for DUI?

Asked on November 25, 2015 under Criminal Law, South Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes you can be arrested for a DUI even if you are not actually driving at the time. Legally, the police do not have to actually observe you behind the wheel of a moving vehicle; all that is needed is evidence of driving. The fact you were in your driveway could argually be evidence that you had just pulled in (or were going to go back on the road0 after drinking, especially if you had the keys to the car in your possession and/or were sitting behind the wheel. This would have all been legally sufficient to demonstrate that you exerted control over the car. Additionally, I don't know what, if any, tests were administered to you at the scene (breathalyzer, blood, field sobriety) which would establish that you exerted control over the car at a time when you were legally intoxicated.
That having been said, this does not mean that you don't have legal grounds on which to fight the charge.  Defenses can be enlisted which could result in getting the charge dismissed or at least reduced.  At this point you need to consult directly with an attorney that handles drunk driving cases. Since a DUI triggers both civil and criminal cases, you should have legal representation.

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