Driving while drunk is a criminal offense in every state. Although each state differs slightly when defining what drunk driving and its consequences are, there are many overlapping qualities. This is especially true when it comes to the kind of evidence police can gather and what of that evidence can be used by a prosecutor during trial. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were either over the legal limit of intoxication, were impaired by those intoxications, or both based on the evidence presented at trial.
Types of Evidence Considered in DUI Cases
People charged with a DUI are entitled to a trial by a judge or jury. Evidence that may used at trial may include physical evidence such as an open or empty container of alcohol found in defendant’s vehicle, the arresting officer’s observations regarding the defendant’s objective symptoms of intoxication (slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, etc.), and/or the defendant’s performance on the field sobriety tests as well as chemical tests– whether breath, urine, or blood tests.
When it comes to the legal level of intoxication, most people think of the general .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) percentage in California. However, those under 21 or someone on probation for a DUI cannot drive with even .01 blood alcohol content. There is also the enhanced penalties if your BAC level is .15 or greater.
Possible Evidentiary Issues that Can Surface During a DUI Trial
There must be reasonable suspicion for why the officer pulls you over, which they will then document in a police report. When administering field sobriety tests or chemical tests, the officer must adhere to certain procedures. If there is no reasonable suspicion for the vehicle stop, probable cause for the arrest, and/or the officer did not follow proper procedures when gathering evidence, your attorney can make a motion to exclude illegally obtained evidence at trial.