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What Types of Evidence Does Prosecution Use to Prove Intoxication in a San Diego DUI Case?

  • September 1, 2017

    It takes just one drink too many while out with friends for your blood alcohol content level to climb above the legal limit. If you come across a checkpoint on your way home or make a moving violation, the police can pull you over, make you submit to an alcohol test and decide that you are guilty of driving under the influence. San Diego drivers will find that the burden of proof in the case falls on the prosecution. The prosecution is the side that must show without any reasonable doubt that you were not only inebriated because of your alcohol usage but that you operated a moving vehicle too.

    Prosecutors cannot simply use one piece of evidence and expect the court to find you guilty. All evidence submitted must come from the officers on the scene or those at the station and show that you were in control of a vehicle and drunk at the time of your arrest. Most cases require several key types of evidence.

    BAC Level

    One of the most important pieces of evidence used in your case is the BAC level you had when arrested. The breathalyzer is one test that officers can use in the field or at the station. This test requires that you take a deep breathe and exhale directly into the machine. Those with breathing conditions and other medical problems can submit to a blood test instead of using the breathalyzer. If you refused to take either type of test, the law may find you automatically guilty of a DUI. This also allows the prosecution to charge you with one or more other crimes/penalties.

    Though California law requires that you have a BAC level of .08 or higher to be guilty of a DUI, the officer must record the BAC that you registered in the official police report. Even if you had a lower number, the court can still find you guilty of a DUI because you drove a vehicle for work. California can charge anyone under the legal drinking age with a DUI for having any alcohol in their bloodstreams.

    You must take this test within three hours or less of your arrest. If you wait to take the test, the alcohol can leave your bloodstream, which can result in you registering a lower BAC. The court will look at the official police report to make sure that you took the test within this time frame.

    Police Report

    Another key piece of evidence that the prosecution will use to prove your intoxication is the official police report. This report will go over everything that happened from the probable cause used to stop you to how you acted in the station. It will explain what happened during the initial stop, if you made any comments during that stop and your response to the DUI claim. Though you can claim that you didn’t say what the officer said or contest anything else in the report, the court will usually find the officer more credible than you, especially if you had a higher BAC. This is proof that you do not have clear memories of the night.

    This report must contain some of the observations that the officer witnessed during the stop. The officer will jot down your responses to questions like whether you had anything to drink that night and what you did prior to the stop. It may include how you reacted to a field sobriety test, including whether you fell down during a skills test or had a difficult time answering questions. The law does not require that you answer any questions asked of you or that the officer inform you of your Miranda rights. An officer will not read you your rights until you are under arrest.

    During your appearance in criminal court, the prosecution will need to present all the evidence found, including the police report and your BAC, to prove to the judge that you are guilty of a DUI. While the court will hold the responding officer in high regard, you can still submit proof that invalidates some of the evidence used against you. Qualified San Diego DUI attorneys know how the system works and can help you present evidence of your own.

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