A DUI Attorney Explains Common Prosecutor Strategies
When you take a DUI case to court, your DUI attorney expects that the prosecution will be trying to prove that you drove under the influence or that you drove with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit.
While the charges may seem nearly identical, the prosecutor will include both counts to increase the chance that you’ll be convicted. And while they are similar, they require your DUI attorney to prepare a specific defense for each one.
DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
This charge doesn’t require that your BAC be at any certain level, just that you did drive after having consumed alcohol or any other combination of alcohol or drugs. A DUI can be issued for alcohol, as well as drugs or any combination of the two. For purposes of DUI, drugs include prescription or over-the-counter drugs as well as illegal substances.
However, the language of this law—“under the influence”—means that your driving has to be proven to be impaired by the consumption. This is both good and bad news: on one hand, you won’t be convicted for having a beer before you get behind the wheel, but on the other, if that beer rendered you incapable of driving properly, you can be convicted, even if your BAC was below legal limits. The latter is what the prosecutor will seek to prove.
The prosecutor will use the arresting officer’s report to corroborate his claim that you were DUI. The officer’s observations that you slurred your speech, smelled of alcohol, had trouble with sobriety tests, or drove erratically will be used against you. In the face of this evidence, a BAC close to legal limits could seal the deal. A qualified DUI attorney can help minimize the impact these statements may have on a Jury.
Driving with a BAC Above the Legal Limit
Unlike DUI, this charge is only concerned with alcohol, and it will require proof of your BAC—specifically, that it was .08 or more. In this case, whether or not your driving was actually impaired is irrelevant: it’s all about that number. So if you drink often enough to have developed tolerance, and three beers does nothing to your ability to drive but still makes you a blow a .08 on the breathalyzer, you can still be convicted.
Because of the specificity of each charge, proving just one leaves too big of a of a hole, which is why if prosecutors can prove both, it will increase your chance of conviction. If you’d like a free consultation with a DUI attorney experienced with combating such prosecutor strategy, please contact the Legacy Counsel.