In most states, there are two different violations that can cause a driver to be charged with DUI:
a “less safe” violation, and a per se violation
. For a less safe DUI offense, the prosecutor must show, through witness testimony, that your ability to drive was impaired by alcohol and/or drugs
. A per se DUI offense means that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit. The legal limit in all states is .08 percent for drivers over the age of 21.
In some states, the law says that a defendant must be driving a vehicle to be charged with a DUI offense. However, some states make it a crime to be in physical custody of a vehicle while under the influence. This means that if someone is found intoxicated on the side of the road with keys in the ignition, but is not driving, he or she may be charged with a DUI offense.
Some courts have established evidence that may be used to prove that the defendant was driving. This evidence includes: testimony about the defendant’s erratic driving, testimony about the defendant’s behavior or appearance, testimony regarding the defendant’s field sobriety tests, videos or pictures taken where the defendant was driving or arrested, and incriminating statements made by the defendant.
During a drunk-driving stop, the officer will look at the defendant’s behavior and appearance to determine whether the defendant is intoxicated. Symptoms of intoxication may include: disheveled clothing, unkempt hair, red, glossy, or blood shot eyes, flushed face, slurred speech, and the odor of alcohol.
As stated above, if a driver’s BAC is over the legal limit, he or she will be arrested and charged with drunk driving. To determine BAC, the officer may administer a breath, blood, or urine test, with a breath test being the most common. If you were charged with a DUI offense after failing one of these chemical tests
, not all is lost. These tests are far from infallible, and an experienced defense attorney can often throw the credibility of the results into question.
If you have recently been charged with a DUI offense, you should contact a DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
Your attorney will carefully investigate your case to uncover evidence that may be used on your behalf.