Driving, as defined under Pennsylvania DUI law and PennDOT motorist law, has a specific definition. In the various cases that have analyzed it, it usually means an operation or actual control over the vehicle, which can mean several things. It can be a variation in which the officers either directly or circumstantially are able to deduce that the car had been moved recently. Then comes the next element, which is that the operator was intoxicated, but driving itself is one element of the crime of DUI.
The officers in a DUI investigation do not necessarily need to see the motorist driving. For example, if they see a car that is idling with signs of recent movement, they could charge the operator of the vehicle with a DUI if they were under the influence. Another way is if they see the person outside of the car, but there was an accident and there is evidence that the car was moving when the wreck happened.
A well-versed lawyer who could help you with defining driving in Delaware County DUI cases could assist you if you are facing charges. Contact a seasoned DUI lawyer today.
If it is not clear who was driving and there is a passenger in the vehicle, then the prosecution has the option of charging both individuals with DUI instead of neither individual. In these situations, perhaps there was an accident, two people are standing next to the car, and neither one admits to being the one operating the vehicle. In this case, the prosecution has a choice to charge no one with DUI or to charge both of them with DUI.
In these sorts of situations, only further investigation or admissions of guilt will be the only way that the prosecution is able to prove definitively who was driving. They might use circumstantial evidence such as who the car is registered to, who owns the car, or other signs of one person being the driver versus the other.
In Delaware County, there have been cases in which people are even approached at home for DUI and fleeing the scene of an accident. A person, if they are identified by the other driver by license plate or some other way, can be arrested anywhere. A warrant can be served at the driver’s home. They can be arrested later on the streets or during another police interaction for prior DUI activity. It is all about the identification of the person and finding them in a timely manner. For more information, consult with a knowledgeable attorney.
To prove driving in a DUI case, the prosecution must put on some direct or circumstantial evidence about the operation of the vehicle. This evidence could be a testimony of a witness such as a civilian involved in an accident or testimony from the operator if the operator of the vehicle admitted to the officer they were driving. In many cases in which a car is pulled over, the police officer might claim that they saw the defendant driving the car. Some sort of evidence that the person operated the vehicle must be presented to the court for any finding that the person is DUI.
If you have any questions regarding defining driving in Delaware County DUI cases, reach out to an experienced lawyer today.