Can a Police Officer Stop me in my Driveway?
September 20, 2021
Can a Police Officer Stop me in my Driveway?

The short answer is NO but it’s a little more complicated than that. What any criminal lawyer will tell you is that under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, police officers can stop a motor vehicle for any reason, or for no reason even if the driver is not committing an offence. However, the police can only enforce the Highway Traffic Act on public roadways. A driveway is a private roadway.

In a recent case, R. v. McColman, the police initiated a stop while the accused was already on his parent’s driveway. The court ruled that it was a breach of the motorist’s section 9 of the Charter for the police not to initiate a stop until he parked in the driveway. Therefore, if an officer sees you driving according to the law on a public roadway, they cannot attempt to stop you in your driveway.

However, you should not attempt to hurry home to your driveway if the police are trying to initiate your stop on a public roadway. You cannot save yourself just by being on the driveway if the police already initiated a parting stop to you. In this case, the motorist was already stopped on the driveway, and police noticed signs of impairment after he exited the vehicle on private property. Thus, the police did not stop the motor vehicle until it was in the driveway.

This case may still be argued by criminal lawyers on the Supreme Court for the ultimate analysis.

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