Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How you can be convicted of California DUI regardless of how much alcohol was consumed

Can a person be guilty of DUI irrespective of the amount of alcohol ingested?

California's criminal offense of DUI is usually defined one of these ways or sometimes both:

(1) the person had a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above the .08% limit set by California law, or

(2) the person was driving under the influence of alcohol.

In order to find a person guilty under the first definition, a jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the person's blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded a certain amount. In California, the legal limit is .08 (or 8 percent).

So if it is proven that the person's BAC at the time of the arrest was .08 or greater, he or she can be convicted of DUI, regardless of how much alcohol was actually consumed.

By comparison, the second definition does not refer to any particular BAC; it focuses on the driving behavior of the person.

So if the person's driving is impaired by the consumption of alcohol, he or she can be found guilty of DUI in California.

Instead of presenting evidence of the BAC to a jury, the prosecuting DUI attorney seeking a conviction under this definition generally presents testimony about the person's driving and consumption of alcohol.

The California DUI police officer will usually explain how impaired driving, if any, that lead him or her to contact the person and try to evaluate the person's ability (or lack thereof) to perform DUI field sobriety tests.

DUI evidence is also usually presented concerning the person's consumption of alcohol. If the jury decides that the prosecuting DUI lawyer has met the burden of proof, it can convict the person of DUI.

In certain cases, a susceptible person may exhibit impaired driving after just 1 alcoholic beverage and may therefore be convicted of DUI or drunk driving in California.

If you need help with your DUI, look for a California attorney who specializes in these types of difficult cases.