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Can I Be Charged with DUI After the Fact?

It’s not uncommon for people to have a drink or two, and assuming their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the .08% legal limit, they climb behind the wheel to head home only to get into a car accident. Sometimes the drinking has something to do with the crash, sometimes the drinking has nothing to do with it.

Suppose “Jack” was in a non-injury crash and he had a couple of drinks before the accident. The police were called to the scene and the cops asked Jack and the other driver if anyone was hurt. Jack and the other driver both said, “No,” and they exchanged their driver’s license, registration, and insurance information.

The police officer didn’t notice any odor of alcohol on Jack’s breath, and the officer didn’t give Jack any type of field sobriety test, nor did he ask Jack to take a breathalyzer. Still a bit nervous because he was drinking, Jack is now wondering, “Can the police come back and charge me with DUI if they see the surveillance video footage from the bar that I was drinking at?”

Jack is pretty sure that he was over the legal limit, but the officer didn’t seem to notice. The officer did not arrest Jack for driving under the influence. Nevertheless, Jack is still nervous that the police will come back and charge him with DUI after the fact, especially if someone who saw him drinking that night turns him in.

Is There Any Real Evidence?

While Jack certainly made a mistake drinking and driving, in his case there is no real evidence against him. If the officer didn’t ask Jack to perform any field sobriety tests, have him blow into a breathalyzer, or take a sample of his blood, he’s in the clear.

Even if there’s video surveillance footage of Jack drinking at a bar an hour before the accident, it’s just not enough. Since Jack was not investigated for DUI at the time of the traffic stop, and since there was no chemical test, it would be nearly impossible for law enforcement to prove their case. Jack basically dodged a bullet, and hopefully he learned a lesson. Jack does however, need to make sure that he reports the accident to his auto insurance company.

Related: “Can I Face Civil Penalties for a DUI Accident?”

Were you in a DUI accident in Orange County? If so, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a hard-hitting defense!