DUI law often differs between jurisdictions, with the definition of a drunk driving offense seeming to be quite fluid depending on the state in which you reside. Most states, including Maryland, define a DUI as operating a motor vehicle on a road while intoxicated. However, there may be some surprising elements to these definitions that you are not expecting. Consider, for example, that you can still be convicted of DUI even if you have a low blood alcohol content; the fact that you are driving poorly may qualify you for a “per se offense,” which occurs with a BAC under 0.08 percent. You may consider yourself a DUI expert, but double-checking the law is always a smart decision.
Several factors are used to determine whether the driver has actually committed a drunk driving offense. In general, those include the location of the vehicle or whether it was on or off of the road. The location of the keys in the vehicle is also a critical factor, as is the physical condition of the vehicle. If the car is inoperable, for example, an intoxicated person inside should not be charged with drunk driving.
What about the evidence that is obtained during a traffic stop? In general, three types of evidence are collected to demonstrate that the driver was intoxicated: field evidence, blood-alcohol evidence and driver evidence. Field evidence generally includes photographs or performance during a field sobriety test. Driver evidence includes the driver’s physical appearance and behavior; consider the driver who is slapped with a DUI charge because his or her breath smells strongly of alcohol. Finally, blood-alcohol evidence is obtained through breathalyzer or blood testing.
If you are facing a DUI charge, you need to know about the types of evidence that can be used against you in criminal court. BAC level is not the only determining factor. Your defense attorney can help you identify a guided strategy for combating your own drunk driving allegations.
Source: FindLaw, “Elements of a DUI Offense” Oct. 05, 2014