Drug DUI: What The DA Must Prove

A drug DUI can be much easier for your Orange DUI attorney to defend than an alcohol DUI. In the case of most alcohol DUIs, the DA need only prove that the defendant was driving the vehicle and that the defendant’s blood-alcohol content was 0.08% at the time of driving. But in the case of a drug DUI there is no “legal limit” for the DA to prove and your DUI lawyer to defend against. Rather, in the case of a drug DUI, the DA must prove that the driver was actually impaired by the drugs in their system. Proving actual impairment–that the driver was too impaired to drive the vehicle safely–can be much more difficult.

Proving “Actual Impairment” in a Drug DUI Case

Any experienced Orange DUI lawyer will tell you that the best evidence of “actual impairment” is poor driving. If you want to prove that someone was too impaired to drive safely, just look at the driving. But in many drug DUI cases there simply is no poor driving. Often, these cases involve a person who was pulled over for an equipment violation or for an offense that doesn’t show actual impairment, such as speeding. Cases that present no poor driving are the easiest DUI cases for DUI attorneys to defend. On the other hand, cases involving a collision or clear poor driving, such as weaving, wide or narrow turns, or erratic slowing or speeding up, are the toughest cases for Orange DUI lawyers to defend.

Other evidence used to prove actual impairment are the results of the field sobriety tests. Although these tests are completely voluntary, most driver’s believe they must perform them. In virtually every drug DUI case the officer will testify that the driver failed these tests. However, a skilled Orange DUI attorney can often discredit the field sobriety test evidence. After all, the officer has no “baseline” field sobriety test to compare the results to. A baseline test is a test performed by the driver with no drugs in their system. So if a driver is injured or is simply not that coordinated, the driver may never be able to perform the test perfectly. This “poor performance” will always be attributed to drug impairment by the police and the DA, but a jury is not so cynical. Most jurors know that if they were asked to perform these tests, it is likely that they too would not perform perfectly.

Reduced Charge in a Drug DUI Case

Because of the difficulties proving actual impairment in a drug DUI case, an experienced Orange DUI attorney can often negotiate a reduced charge instead of going to trial. The DA is not interested in going to trial if they are not sure they can win. A trial is not only very expensive for the state, it also taxes the resources of the DA’s office. It requires a DA to spend four days entirely devoted to the one case. Unless victory is certain, the DA’s office does not like to do this. However, unless they know that the DUI attorney is skillful enough to win at trial, they may take the chance. That’s why it is important to find an Orange DUI lawyer who works regularly in the court where your case is being litigated.

Free Telephonic Consultation with an Orange DUI Attorney

The Law Office of EJ Stopyro offers a free, no-obligation telephonic consultation. Call us today at (949) 278-6353. Mr. Stopyro will be happy to evaluate your case and help you explore your options.