What the Prosecution Must Prove in a Drunk Driving Case

Oct 04, 2017

When crafting an effective drunk driving defense with the help of your lawyer, the key is to know exactly what a prosecutor must prove in order to get you convicted. This is true in any legal case, be it drunk driving or otherwise. By knowing all the factors that a prosecutor has to prove in order to convince a jury, you can help work with your lawyer to create an effective defense.
So what must a prosecutor prove in core in order to convict you for a DUI?
  • Proof You Were Driving – Very rarely in DUI cases will there ever be any argument over the fact that you were driving. However, in some rare cases where the officer approaches the vehicle in a parking lot where the car was not running can this be debated. It could be said that you were not intending to drive while intoxicated, but were merely sitting there waiting for a different ride.  In addition, in California, driving requires “movement” of the vehicle.  Simply sitting in the vehicle with the vehicle running, but without movement, is not driving.  An example of this would be sitting in a running car at a tailgate event with the radio on, but without moving the vehicle.  This would not qualify as driving in California. 
  • Proof You Were Under the Influence – Like proof of driving, proof of your intoxication can be difficult to argue. Even if you blow a breathalyzer under the legal limit, you can still be arrested for a DUI if the officer believes that your ability to drive safely has been impaired.
  • Arrest Was Legal With Probable Cause – This is where many DUI cases can begin to fall apart for the prosecution. Many police actions can cause a strong case to become completely invalid, such as they took improper steps with arrest procedure or did not have probable cause to stop your car. The prosecution will often call the arresting officer in for testimony on the exact reason you were pulled over. If they’re testimony fails to convince the court that they had a valid, legal reason for pulling you over, the court will exclude any evidence obtained as a result of the “illegal” stop.  This evidence is “fruit” of the poisonous tree.  The tainted fruit, or tainted evidence, will not be allowed into court. 
With the right drunk driving attorney, your DUI can turn from a rusty, busted down wreck, to a well-oiled machine.  If you need a DUI defense attorney, contact us today to see what we can do for you. The Mitchell Law Group is dedicated to examining the pinpoint details of each case so that we can find a way for you to win.

Category: DUI Defense

Michael Mitchell


Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.