DUI Defense Attorney
Dallas DUI Defense Attorney – DUI Elements & How To Prove Them
Overview: Elements To Prove A DUI In Texas
DUI offenses, like all criminal charges, cannot just be wantonly prosecuted. There must be some evidence proving you were indeed driving under the influence. There are several types of evidence collected in a DUI, they include:
This is the first type of evidence that is collected. It is usually collected by police at the scene where a person is arrested. Field evidence takes many forms. It can be in the form of testimony on unusual driving, physical appearance, or conduct. Field evidence can also be the driver’s performance when subjected to a sobriety test.
Field evidence can involve photographs or audio taken at the place of arrest. Other forms include any incriminating statements that a driver can make to indicate they were under the influence.
Driver-related field evidence is critical. Police officers observe a driver’s symptoms and appearance to gauge whether they are driving under the influence or not. Common driver-related field evidence includes an untidy appearance such as hair that isn’t combed or shaved. Untidy clothes, red, bloodshot, or glassy eyes can also indicate intoxication. Other signs include breath that smells like alcohol, a flushed face, and slurred speech.
An intoxicated driver exhibits certain warning signs. Even before police officers stop you for a DUI in Texas, they look for certain signs exhibited on the road. Since drugs like alcohol impair judgment and a person’s ability to operate machinery (including cars), there is evident driver-related field evidence to look for, such as weaving in/out of lanes, turning without indicating, over speeding or driving too slowly, changing lanes/stopping or accelerating abruptly.
A drunk driver may also hit objects or other cars along the way, drive on pavements or other prohibited areas, or get involved in a hit-and-run accident. Police officers who conduct DUI arrests look for all these signs or field evidence and document it. This evidence is usable in court to prove DUI in Texas charges.
Field evidence aside, police officers also collect blood-alcohol evidence. Since the above evidence can only indicate drunkenness, police officers
need to collect more concrete evidence through blood alcohol content and breathalyzer tests. What’s more, alcohol is metabolized continuously in the body. A suspect who isn’t subjected to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test immediately may become sober before they are charged in court.
Blood alcohol evidence is collected in several ways. The most common is through a breathalyzer test. A defendant must blow their breath via a breathalyzer, which calculates the BAC. A blood and urine test can also confirm if you were driving while intoxicated beyond the legal limits. It is possible for BAC tests to be challenged successfully in court.
If you hire a seasoned DUI attorney in Texas such as those from The Medlin Law Firm, the test results can be challenged successfully based on how the sample was collected and stored, among other technical issues.
In Texas, you shouldn’t drive with a BAC of over 0.08%. However, you can exhibit signs of intoxication for other reasons related to your physical or mental health. Some prescription drugs can impair your judgment when driving. In a nutshell, blood-alcohol evidence needs to be collected and analyzed as per the law.
The Per Se DUI element also states that BAC-related impairment varies depending on many factors such as a person’s body, gender, time, etc. While courts consider the blood alcohol content, it can be argued that other factors could have raised the BAC beyond typical levels. For instance, a person who drinks without eating anything can have a higher BAC when compared to another person who drinks the same amount of alcohol after eating.
Other Evidence For Proving A DUI In Texas
Drug Recognition Expert Evidence
BAC and field tests may not be adequate to prove a DUI charge. A testimony from a drug recognition expert (DRE) can be used to “cement” a case. DREs are usually police officers trained to recognize signs of intoxication. Since they aren’t scientists per se, their testimonies can be questioned. What’s more, their testimonies can be challenged based on factors beyond them i.e., if the evidence was collected and stored inappropriately before being subjected to tests.
Video footage collected before and during an arrest can also be used to prove DUI in Texas. Police officers have cameras fitted in their vehicles and bodies that take footage before, during and after arrests. Bystanders can also record footage. The same applies to businesses such as bars with CCTV cameras. Courts accept such evidence in a trial. When video evidence is collected and used alongside other tests, the odds of a conviction increase drastically.
However, your attorney can also present video evidence showing you weren’t exhibiting signs of intoxication. The identity of persons in the footage can also be questioned. Seasoned DUI attorneys can use many other tactics, including questioning the timing. It’s up to prosecutors to prove that footage was taken on the day/time in question and it was the suspect (not another person) in the footage.
Your word also matters in a DUI trial. While there are guidelines on testifying, your statement may be required. If you admit to taking a prescription drug that is known to have similar consequences as those of taking alcohol, your personal statement can cast doubt into BAC findings. If the BAC tests indicate that you had taken the prescription drug in question, the case can be dismissed.
Personal statements made during an arrest can be used against you. That’s why it’s advisable to remain silent. Your lawyer should guide you on what you should/shouldn’t say. DUI attorneys can use cross-examination to probe the officer who made the arrest. Their memory and honesty can be challenged. A successful cross-examination of witnesses can cast doubt on the DUI charge resulting in a dismissal.
Eye Witness Testimonies
Many DUI trials involve eyewitness testimonies from both sides (law enforcement and a defendant’s side). Independent third parties can also be involved if they were present before, during, or after an arrest. Texas can call eyewitnesses who were driving near you to confirm you were driving recklessly or erratically. Individuals who happened to be in a party or bar with you on the night of arrest can also be called to confirm you took alcohol before or when driving.
Eye witness testimonies can also be used to defend you. Your lawyer can call an independent witness i.e., someone who was with you to prove you weren’t drinking. Eyewitnesses can also be called to testify if a BAC was done properly.
While DUI is a charge faced by drivers caught driving while intoxicated by alcohol, the charge can also apply to drivers who aren’t driving. The element of driving can be proven if you were in physical control of a vehicle i.e., on the driver’s seat while the car was parked but running. While actual driving proves most DUI charges, it isn’t a must to prove DUI charges.
When using the driving element, judges focus on whether the car was running, if the keys were in the ignition, where the accused was seated, and if he was awake/asleep when the officer/s showed up. If you “pass out” on the driver’s seat while intoxicated and the car is running, this can be enough evidence to prove a DUI in Texas.
Do You Need a Texas DUI Attorney to Tackle Your Charges?
Since BAC levels can surpass the legal limit in Texas for many reasons besides intoxication and the consequences of a DUI range from fines to losing your license and jail time in severe circumstances, the need for expert legal help can’t be overlooked.
Seasoned Texas DUI lawyers such as those at The Medlin Law Firm boast of 79+ years (combined experience) tackling DUI and related matters successfully.
Even if you are caught drunk, there must be proof of the same beyond a reasonable doubt. Small issues such as unlawful arrest, unprocedural or seemingly faulty testing, conflicting witness statements, dishonest law enforcement, etc., can have a DUI charge dismissed.
If you ever get a DUI charge, contact your attorney immediately for guidance on responding to law enforcement requests and other actions to take. Any statements you make before seeking legal help can be incriminating. Since BAC levels in some tests (breathalyzer tests) can be high because of some foods, your chances of challenging DUI in Texas successfully are high if you seek expert legal help.