How Do Prosecutors Prove DUI Charges?

 Posted on November 21,2023 in DUI

Arlington Heights DUI Defense Lawyer

Impaired driving remains a major concern in Illinois, and arrests happen daily. While the police only need to have probable cause to arrest you for a DUI, a prosecutor must have sufficient evidence to convict you.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need the experience that can only be found in an Arlington Heights DUI defense lawyer.

Standard of Proof

Law enforcement must have probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence (DUI). Probable cause means that the police have reasonably trustworthy information regarding a situation. That information is enough to convince a reasonable person that a crime has been committed.

However, to convict you for a DUI, the government must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. Reasonable doubt means that the evidence presented creates such a high level of certainty that no reasonable person could have any doubts regarding the defendant’s culpability.

Reasonable doubt is the standard of proof in criminal cases, and it requires a higher degree of evidence. The burden is on the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt at trial.

Elements of a DUI Charge in Illinois

To obtain a DUI conviction, the government must prove the following:

  1. You were driving or had actual physical control of
  2. A vehicle
  3. Within the state of Illinois
  4. While under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

A prosecutor may have direct or circumstantial evidence that you were in physical control of a vehicle. Direct evidence is facts that link a person directly to a crime. Circumstantial evidence, in contrast, is evidence that infers other facts. Circumstantial evidence could include the keys being in the ignition, someone else seeing you behind the wheel, or the hood of the engine being warm after the incident. 

Regarding whether your mode of transportation is considered a vehicle, Illinois law defines a vehicle as any device that is used to transport a person or property, not run by human power. Any device will fit into this definition of “vehicle” until it is considered a junk vehicle under the law or is issued a junk certificate.

While proving that you were within the jurisdiction of Illinois is usually straightforward, it may be more challenging for the government to prove that you were driving under the influence. 

While drivers of legal drinking age are considered to be driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08dL/grams or over, if a police officer only had you take a breathalyzer test, you may be able to contest the validity of these results. 

A breathalyzer is known for its unreliability, and you may test impaired if you have diabetes, ate a breath mint, or even burped! Often, these machines are improperly calibrated, resulting in wildly inaccurate readings.

A Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer will likely question the reliability of a breathalyzer test and any evidence that does not meet the criteria to prove your culpability.

Charged with a DUI? Contact an Arlington Heights, IL, DUI Defense Lawyer Today

Law enforcement needs sufficient evidence to charge you with a DUI, but our legal system demands that the government meet a higher standard of proof for a conviction. If you have been charged with a DUI, you need to speak with a Rolling Meadows, IL, DUI defense lawyer. Contact Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law online or by calling 847-253-3400 today to schedule your free consultation.

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