DUI or DWI means driving under influence and driving while intoxicated. Both the terms mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably. Law governing DUI / DWI involves ordinance and statutes that prohibits a person to drive after consuming more than a fixed (allowed) amount of alcohol. DUI cases may involve civil penalties but are considered criminal in nature. Driving license getting suspended is the most common type of penalty in a DUI case. Laws related to the DUI also prohibits driving under the influence of many other substances as well.
In most states drunk driving is prosecuted in three ways. The first is the measurement of the amount the alcohol found in the blood of the driver right after the accident or arrest. The allowed limit in almost every state is 0.8%, which is even lesser when commercial drivers or minors are at question. This prosecution type is called “per se” DUI. It only requires that the driver is tested by the state and found to have more than the allowed limit of alcohol in his blood.
The second scenario is where the driver’s blood alcohol level can’t be tested or is found to be below the allowed limit. In all such cases, the state should prove that whatever amount of alcohol found in the blood was enough to put him or her as unsafe while driving. These type of cases are usually considered tough for the state to prove. In all such cases, state usually make use of witness statements, officer testimony, video or audio recordings, etc to prove its point in court.
The third scenario is when the state is required to prove that the defendant was actually in control of the vehicle. This can be proven with the help of various other evidence but unlike most cases, in this case the defendant is not necessarily required to have driven the vehicle. Driver in this case must be proven to have physical control over the vehicle. For example a person sitting in the driver’s seat and having the car keys with him.
In addition to the suspension of their driving license, those found guilty of DUI or DWI may also face fines, jail time, alcohol classes and many other penalties. Having tested for blood alcohol level, with results showing more than the allowed limit of it is enough for the suspension of license. Because of the complexity involved in DUI / DWI cases, it becomes imperative to hire a lawyer so that he or she may handle the matters professionally.
Avoiding Drunk Driving Conviction
Typically, a trained and well qualified attorney may adapt different strategies to avoid DUI charges. For a prosecutor, the DUI case becomes tougher if the defendant hires a legal counsel. Prosecution will be asked to turn over all evidence, which would be studied by the counsel thoroughly and used in favor of the defendant.
In the first place, the traffic stop might be questioned as it is unconstitutional for an officer to stop someone and check for the DUI in the absence of a reasonable evidence that the driver has committed a crime or a traffic violation. In this case, if the officer fails to prove that the stop was legal, the state might find it extremely hard to prove its point.
DUI lawyers are specially trained to help the defendant where field sobriety tests are involved. “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration” have developed these roadside tests to detect any kind of intoxication. All these tests are strictly standardized, meaning that even the slightest of irregularity in the procedure may go in the favor of the defendant.
What forms the basis of any DUI case can also be used by the attorney to save the defendant. What happens is there are several ways through which the authorities measure the blood alcohol level and one of the most common method is by the use of breath test. The machines used for breath test are often found to be not properly calibrated and maintained. If the attorney can prove this in court, then it again becomes very tough for the prosecution to prove their point.
The services of a qualified attorney may also prove invaluable at times when plea bargain is involved. Going against a proven, talented attorney also means that considerable amount of resources would be utilized on the prosecutor’s part. To avoid this they may offer a lenient sentence. In case where a trial is necessary, the DUI lawyer can prove to the court that each little problem in the state’s case when added up can create a reasonable doubt.
The most important thing for anyone who has been arrested for a DUI is to act quickly. Consultations with the DUI attorney are usually free and can save you from license suspension and more troubles.