A person does not have to be drunk in order to be considered guilty of a DUI. To be found guilty, one would need to be both in physical control of a vehicle and impaired by either alcohol, drugs, or some combination of the two. To arrest a person on suspicion of DUI, the police need to prove he or she is impaired. They accomplish this through both field sobriety exercises and ordinary observation.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a DUI, contact an attorney at The Defense Group using our website or call us at 407-831-1956 for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day in case of emergency, and we are able to arrange appointments for nights or weekends.
“First misconception is I think, that DUI means “drunk driving.” You do not have to be drunk to be guilty of DUI. You merely have to be driving a vehicle or in physical control of it. That includes parked with the engine off, keys in your pocket or in the ignition, sound asleep. That’s still DUI. You’re in physical control of that motor vehicle. If you do that at a point in time when you are impaired from either alcohol or any of the several hundred drugs that are in our statutes, then you are DUI.
Now, what is impaired? If you blow over a .08 on the breath test, that much alcohol, you’re presumed to be impaired. If you don’t blow over a .08, they’ve got to prove that you’re impaired. The way they typically do that is by asking you to take some field sobriety exercises and they make observations as soon as they stop you.
Suppose they stop you for a taillight out, they walk up to the window, the officer in his report says, “I noted the strong odor of the impurities of an alcoholic beverage coming from his face. His eyes were bloodshot and watery. His speech was slurred. He was fumbling. He couldn’t get his wallet out. He dropped the drivers license. I asked him to step out of the vehicle, he fell on on the ground.” All of those observations are entitled to show that you’re impaired.
They ask you to do a series of field sobriety exercises, which by the way, you should never, ever, ever, do. Then they write down what they consider clues of impairment from watching you do those things. If they are able to demonstrate in their mind that you’re impaired, they arrest you. Now I would tell you this: in my experience, if it’s late at night and you’ve got alcohol on your breath and you’re behind the wheel of a car and you’re alive, you’re going to jail for DUI. You may or may not be convicted, but that’s pretty much the litmus test.”