Prosecutors in California are highly motivated to prove DUI cases when they get to court. While they may offer you a plea bargain to avoid bringing the case to court, you can count on the prosecutor to be more than willing to take the charges to a jury. If you’re representing yourself, they are very likely to win.
It takes specialized knowledge and experience to represent clients in a DUI case. If you’re facing a DUI charge in California, getting help from a highly skilled DUI lawyer can be your best shot at reducing the penalties you face or even having the case dismissed. For your free consultation with a DUI lawyer who can evaluate your case, call (310) 862-0199.
What the Prosecution Must Prove in a DUI Case
The legal definition of a DUI can be found in Vehicle Code Section 23153. For a simple DUI, an individual must have:
- Possessed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%
- Operated a vehicle while possessing a BAC at or above the legal limit
The BAC level of 0.08% doesn’t have to hold in every case. Drivers operating a commercial vehicle must not have a BAC at or above 0.04%. If the driver is under 21, the illegal BAC for a DUI is only 0.01%.
How a Prosecutor Proves a DUI Case in Court
When a DUI case is brought to court, it’s the prosecutor’s job to convince the jury that you were operating a vehicle while possessing a BAC at or above the legal limit. In order to prove this, the prosecution must have a sufficient amount of admissible evidence. The evidence can be categorized broadly in two forms: testimony and physical evidence.
Testimony is any statement provided by an individual who can attest to the facts of a case. Testimony may come a number of different sources, including:
- The police officer who arrested you
- Any person who saw you in or around your vehicle
If you say anything to a police officer during your arrest, that statement may be used against you in the DUI case. The exception to this rule comes from a violation of your Miranda rights, which are only invoked if the officer has arrested you and began questioning you without reading you your Miranda warning.
Physical evidence is any evidence that may be shown to a jury in the courtroom. Typical types of physical evidence that may be used to prove a DUI case in court include:
- Video footage
- Pictures of open alcohol containers in the vehicle
- Chemical test results
Chemical test results include breath, blood, or urine tests performed to determine your BAC. Under California law, you are required to submit to a chemical test after you have been arrested. Failure to do so can result in additional charges being brought against you.
A DUI Defense Against a DUI Case
While prosecutors can bring mountains of evidence, not all evidence is admissible or necessarily tells the story that the prosecutor believes it will. It will be the defense’s job to sow reasonable doubt about the evidence to a jury.
While many cases rely heavily on witness testimony, it is not the most reliable form of evidence. Your DUI defense will challenge the statements being submitted as evidence for the charge. Police make mistakes in their reports and eyewitnesses can mix up details. Some statements may be inadmissible if they are hearsay or if they were obtained in violation of your Miranda rights.
Challenging Physical Evidence
Physical evidence may be the most convincing type of evidence to some jurors, but it relies on a convincing narrative to be effective. A video may not be clear enough to show who was in the driver’s seat of a vehicle and photos of alcohol in the vehicle may not be enough to prove that you were driving. Chemical tests are not always completely accurate, as the testing method may have been flawed or there were other explanations for the results (i.e., your diet causes a breathalyzer to read an abnormally high BAC).
DUI Lawyers Can Help You Fight Your DUI Case
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, contact us today to find a DUI lawyer in your area. We can connect you with a skilled DUI attorney who can examine the evidence against you and help you build the best defense possible. If you’re ready to begin fighting your DUI case before you get to court, call (310) 862-0199 today!