DUI (driving under the influence) case is being built against a driver, law
enforcement and the prosecutor will rely on specific types of evidence
in their attempt to secure a conviction. Here, we consider the primary
types of evidence that may be used against a DUI suspect to pursue a DUI
Testimony from the Arresting Officer
For starters, the arresting officer will probably testify about the circumstances
surrounding the police stop, field sobriety tests, the PAS test (preliminary
breath test), and the DUI arrest.
One key factor will be the defendant’s driving behavior and the specific
actions that led to the police stop in the first place.
Law enforcement must have probable cause to pull a driver over, such as
running a red light, swerving out of a lane, driving too slowly or a traffic
violation. The police can’t sit outside of bars and wait for patrons
to drive away, or stop people for no good reason.
The officer may testify regarding the driver's behavior and appearance.
Was the driver rude or belligerent? Did the driver stumble or fall when
they got out of their vehicles? Were they slurring their words? Was there
a strong odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath?
The prosecution is trying to establish that the driver was intoxicated,
thus warranting the administration of field sobriety tests.
Field Sobriety Tests (Roadside Tests)
Many people are not aware that they are not required to submit to the field
sobriety tests, and that there is no penalty for politely refusing. But
still, plenty of people don’t know this so they take them anyway.
If the driver submitted to
field sobriety tests, the officer who administered the tests may offer testimony regarding
the driver's performance. Tests like the walk-and-turn, horizontal
gaze nystagmus, or one-leg stand are administered to check a driver's
balance, coordination and ability to follow instructions.
In addition to the officer's testimony, any video surveillance of these
tests captured on the officer’s dash cam or body camera will likely
be submitted as evidence.
Incriminating Statements from the Driver
“Why yes officer, I had a couple of drinks at the bar, but I’m
fine to drive.” If a driver says something to this effect, it
can and will be used against them.
A driver who answers "yes" to the question, "Have you been
drinking?" is falling into the officer’s trap. It is important
to remember that you do not have to submit to questioning and that you
can demand to have your attorney present during formal questioning after
a DUI arrest.
Results of Chemical Tests
If a driver submits to a
blood test, the results may provide the foundation for the prosecuting attorney's
case. If a driver submits to a chemical test that shows a blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater, the prosecution will attempt to
secure a conviction based on this result.
Breath and blood tests may be unreliable or improperly administered, thus,
an experienced DUI attorney will thoroughly investigate every aspect of
DUI testing to determine how to devalue results.
The prosecution may also show other applicable physical evidence, such
as an open container of alcohol that was found in the driver's vehicle,
photographs of an accident scene if the driver was involved in an accident,
witness testimony, etc.
Are you interested in learning more about the evidence used in DUI cases
and how an Orange County DUI lawyer can challenge such evidence? If so,
call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry for a free consultation. We will
be happy to answer your questions and to address your concerns.