In order to prove that a person has been driving under the influence of alcohol, a lawyer has to prove all the elements that are required. In order to prove a case against a driver, the lawyer has to prove three major elements – that the driver was operating a motor vehicle; that he or she was under the influence of alcohol; and that he or she caused an accident. Without any of these elements, a lawyer can’t prove that a client is responsible for any traffic offense.
Driving under the influence can be the cause of a large number of accidents, some of which can even be fatal. In most states, the punishment for a driver who is drunk behind the wheel is a hefty fine and several points on his or her license.
The law in every state is based on what is known as common law. It’s the same as a civil lawsuit, where both sides present their evidence and arguments in a court of law.
Because common law does not have the benefit of a written constitution or law, it is subject to variation. Some states even have special laws based on the common law. The goal of any driving under the influence lawyer is to ensure that his client has a fair hearing before the court.
In some states, a conviction can lead to suspension of a driver’s license, significant fines, and serious civil penalties. Most drivers find it difficult to regain a license after a suspension due to the damage that a long period of driving with a suspended license can do to their finances.
Under common law, courts can make an arrest without much evidentiary support. The arresting officer makes the arrest on the basis of an unreported smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath or blood. Unfortunately, this is not the only factor used by police officers to make the arrest.
In many states, a reasonable doubt standard is used in making the arrest. The DUI defense lawyer needs to present a complete and accurate account of what happened during the traffic stop, as well as to answer a few questions from the police officer.
If there is a reasonable doubt that a motorist did indeed operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, then the accused has the right to a trial. Often, a driver who has been pulled over is allowed to go to the police station to get a breath test done. If a breath test reveals that the accused was sober, then the arrest is considered valid.
However, if the blood or urine tests indicate that the accused had alcohol in his or her system, then a qualified drug recognition expert is called in to determine if the presence of alcohol is indicative of any type of impairment. In this situation, it is important for the lawyer to gather evidence in support of a reasonable doubt scenario.
In order to be able to properly argue the unreasonable doubt issue, the defense must have enough evidence to show that the arresting officer lacked probable cause. If the police officer has a reasonable doubt about the accused’s guilt, then a good driving under the influence attorney will present that evidence to the court.
To prove that there was reasonable doubt, the defense must establish three things: the timing of the officer’s request for a sobriety test; the officer’s failure to record the odor of alcohol on the accused’s breath; and that the police officer could not prove that the accused was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident. In each of these situations, a reasonable doubt must be established. In addition, in every case, the attorney must also present the defense’s argument as to why the accused should not be convicted.
Of course, this is a long drawn out process that must be handled by a competent and aggressive attorney who has represented many clients in similar circumstances. With the right representation, the results of such a case can sometimes be quite favorable for the client.