The following is taken from an interview with a DUI lawyer in Philadelphia as they discuss popular myths associated with driving under the influence. To discuss your case call and schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
This is a myth that individuals often feel is true. If they feel they are only slightly buzzed, they think they can hide that fact from at a trained officer. It really depends upon who is pulling the individual over. If it is an officer who is on DUI duty – and there are many in the city of Philadelphia specifically trained for DUIs – it will be very difficult to pass the officer’s initial testing to determine whether a person should be required or asked at least to participate in the administration of a blood or alcohol test.
On a rare DUI stop, a person may be able to cover up some aspect of being buzzed. However, it is very improbable that an officer won’t just come out and say “have you been drinking” and look at the way a person reacts. They ask for paperwork for the vehicle; license, registration and insurance, then they watch how a person reacts. If a person is slightly buzzed it becomes apparent fairly quickly. Then the officer is required to ask the person to submit to either:
The reality is most individuals feel that if they drank whatever amount of alcohol and/or consumed illegal substances, they should always immediately refuse a breathalyzer. That way, the courts and the police will never know if anything is in their system. However, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has made something abundantly clear and this becomes very clear on the streets of Philadelphia. When a person ultimately turns down a reasonable request by an officer to give a blood and/or alcohol breathalyzer test, then that is considered “per se” evidence that the person was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of driving. The worst part of it is the person is treated if convicted on the higher end of the guidelines.
So, under no circumstances is it ever to a person’s benefit to refuse a blood test and/or breathalyzer test.
For the most part, this can be true if you are on your own property, however the way Philadelphia is arranged it’s a city of row homes. It is very difficult to discern what is public property and what is private property. So for that we look to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and their definition of where exactly the line between public and private property ends or begins.
Almost all spaces outside of a person’s house can be seen as public property. As such, if you’re intoxicated and driving around, then obviously you can and will be charged upon inspection with driving under the influence. It’s only under rare circumstances that a person under the influence of alcohol operating a vehicle in a reckless fashion or even a regular fashion while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be charged because they’re on their own land.
Additionally, when on public property, a person can be charged with other crimes like careless driving and reckless driving by placing others in possible harm of death or serious bodily injury. There are plenty of other charges that can be laid upon a person who’s even operating a vehicle on their own private land. So, even if DUI is off the table, there are plenty of motor vehicle charges and possible criminal charges that a person could face for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol—even on their own property.
David Clark Attorney at Law