It really depends on what was allegedly observed by the officer. It may be an unlawful arrest.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, although only one sentence long, protects California people against unjustified detentions by the government, including California's DUI police. The Amendment reads:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Under the Fourth Amendment a search or seizure cannot take place without a warrant unless an exception to the warrant requirement exists. The reason for this is that a warrantless search or seizure is presumed to be unlawful. Katz v. United States (1967) 389 U.S. 347, 357. This longstanding rule places upon the state the burden to prove the lawfulness of a warrantless detention. Coolidge v. New Hampshire (1971) 403 U.S.433, 455. People v. Williams (1999) 20 Cal. 4th 119, 136. The California Supreme Court described this procedure in People v. Williams, at page 136:
... [W]e hold that when defendants move to suppress evidence, they must set forth the factual and legal bases for the motion, but they satisfy that obligation, at least in the first instance, by making a prima facie showing that the police acted without a warrant. The prosecution then has the burden of proving some justification for the warrantless search or seizure.
As previously described in the California DUI Lawyer motion, the California DUI police stopped the California DUI Attorney's client without a warrant—therefore, the burden lies with the prosecution to establish the legitimacy of the detention.
The legitimacy of a stop of a motor vehicle - including one driven by a California DUI Lawyer's client - requires the prosecution must prove that a police officer had a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the motorist had been or was engaged in unlawful activity. Delaware v. Prouse (1979) 440 U.S. 648, 661.
To answer your question more directly, unfortunately yes, the contact and arrest is permissible, assuming they were operating under the appropriate legal standards.
First - they must have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (some law violation) that they observed to justify the detention (stop) of you. Next, they must then develop probable cause to arrest you based on their investigation.
Unfortunately, pulling into your driveway isn't like home base where they can't arrest you.
The details of your case and the facts will need to be examined by your attorney. Don't miss the 10 day window with the DMV to request a hearing or they'll automatically suspend your license.
Yes, it is legal. The police were following you to see how you were driving and whether there was enough evidence based on how you were driving as to whether there was probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence of alcohol or some other substance. You will definitely want the advice of an attorney to determine whether your driving rose to the level of DUI. You do not mention whether there were breath scores or other evidence of intoxication in your case.
DUI DUI traffic stop DUI as a criminal offense Imprisonment for DUI DUI sentence DUI charges DUI arrest DUI and driver's license penalties Criminal defense Criminal charges Crimes against society The 4th amendment and criminal defense Probable cause and criminal defense Reasonable suspicion and criminal defense Defenses for criminal charges Criminal arrest Criminal court Criminal sentencing Warrants and criminal charges Civil rights