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What Elements Must The Prosecution Prove For My DUI Case



To convict anyone of a crime, the prosecution must prove certain facts known as elements. Each element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Before you can begin planning your defense, you must master the relevant list of elements. In a trial for Driving under the Influence, or DUI, there are three elements: that you were intoxicated, that you were in control of a vehicle, and that you were in a public area.

Intoxication

In many DUI cases, the prosecution introduces a blood analysis or breathalyzer test to establish intoxication. Under state law, you are presumed to be incapable of driving safely if your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is above a certain percentage at the time of testing. The only way to attack this evidence is to challenge the validity of the test by questioning the calibration of the equipment or the qualifications of the test's administrator.

If the prosecutors do not have access to a BAC test, they must prove that you were actually incapable of safely driving because of the influence of alcohol or drugs. The arresting officer may testify that you were seen swerving or driving erratically, that you had difficulty walking a line or reciting the alphabet, or that you were slurring your speech. An experienced DUI attorney can often undermine this evidence by offering other explanations for your behavior, such as a recent surgery that makes it difficult for you to walk in a straight line.

Control Of A Vehicle

You do not have to drive to be found guilty of DUI. Courts have found defendants guilty of DUI in all of the following situations:

  • Sitting in the passenger seat of a running car
  • Sleeping behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition
  • Sitting in a car that is parked and not running when the hood is still warm

Presence In A Public Area

Defendants have been convicted of DUI even when they were never seen driving on a road. The court will consider whether you posed a danger to the general public. Some defendants have been convicted for driving in parking lots or alongside a set of railroad tracks.

Contact An Attorney Today

Experienced DUI attorneys can challenge the prosecution's evidence, forcing the government to prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury has doubts about even one of these elements, you may be acquitted. Even if you do not want to stand trial, an attorney can help you negotiate a better deal by identifying weaknesses in the prosecution's case. If you have been charged with DUI, do not delay beginning the fight to protect your rights. Contact an attorney today.

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