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The elements of a DUI

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2023 | DUI Defense

Driving under the influence (DUI) arrests are common in the state of Florida. Remember, an arrest is different from a conviction. If a police officer suspects you were driving under the influence of a drug or controlled substance, the state must still prove the elements below to convict you.

You were driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle

The state still must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were driving the vehicle, or you were in the car and had the capacity to operate it. They would need wheel witnesses to assert you were driving or had control of the vehicle, especially if the officer arrested you after a crash or because of a reckless driver report. There must be substantial evidence linking you to an operable vehicle’s driver’s seat. If an officer, or any other witness, cannot be sure they saw you driving, the state cannot convict you of a DUI. Similarly, the state cannot convict you if the vehicle is inoperable.

You were under the influence

The state must prove you were under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or controlled substance. An arresting officer can ask you to perform a sobriety test. Whether you fail the sobriety tests or not, an officer can still arrest you, which means you must appear in court.

Your normal faculties were impaired

One drink should not be enough to convict you of a DUI. The state will have to prove that the substance you consumed impaired your normal faculties. Sobriety tests are not always reliable, and there are many ways to question their subjectivity.

If it is the first time anyone has arrested or charged you with a DUI, you may think pleading guilty is the easiest way out. But if your case does not meet all the elements for a conviction, you could be admitting guilt to an offense you did not even commit.