Elements of the Offense in a California DUI Case

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One is considered to be innocent until proven guilty in a criminal proceeding such as a drunk driving case. In criminal courts the burden of proof is on the prosecution. The standard of requiring a prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt applies in driving under the influence cases and in all criminal cases in California. Often it is difficult for the state to achieve this very high standard when faced by an able DUI attorney who has what it takes to make it difficult for the prosecutor to prove each and every element of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

To the casual observer the elements that make up a drunk driving offense may seem straightforward, but there are several nuances that an experienced DUI attorney understands. This understanding allows the attorney to poke holes in any one of the elements. If your attorney can create reasonable doubt as to just one of the elements, then a jury will have to find that you are not guilty of the charges.

It is important to understand that you must be under the influence at the time of driving. It must also be understood that there are two separate charges that apply to DUI cases. Those are Vehicle Code 23152(a) Sections which says it is a misdemeanor to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and Vehicle Code 23152(b) Sections which say it is a misdemeanor to drive with .08 percent or more of alcohol in your blood. While sometimes a person will be charged under (a) and not (b), a person charged with (b) will always be charged with (a) as well.

When a person is being charged under Vehicle Code Section 23512(b), the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the blood alcohol level of the motorist was .08 percent or higher at the time the person was driving. If the police officer conducts a chemical test an hour after a person was pulled over, there is a chance that a good DUI attorney will be able to raise doubt as to whether the blood alcohol level was really .08 percent at the time of driving.

The standard of reasonable doubt in a driving while intoxicated case is the same high standard applied in a murder case. There is a responsibility upon a jury to take this standard seriously in order to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system as a whole. It is a defense attorney of quality who can convey this responsibility to the jury members in order to have them apply the high standard of proof to a drunk-driving case. The experienced attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm are well-known for their skill and integrity. Call for a free consultation.