1. Home
  2. /
  3. Blog
  4. /
  5. Drunk Driving Charges
  6. /
  7. Elements that must be...

Elements that must be proven in a DWI offense

The laws regarding driving while intoxicated vary from state to state. However, there are some commonalities in these crimes across all states. One of these is the aggressive nature the prosecution will approach these cases and the fact that the outcome for the defendant, if convicted, could have a long-lasting negative impact on their life.

In most states, a DWI charge results when an individual is accused for operating a motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In New York, the blood alcohol content or BAC a person is considered legally intoxicated is .08. There are a few elements that the prosecution must prove in order to convict an individual of drunk driving.

First, there is the driving element. While some states require that an individual actually be driving the vehicle in order to be charged, others just require that the person be in physical control of the vehicle whether they are driving it or not. These two requirements will not usually result in the same decision as to whether a person was driving the vehicle, so it is important to understand what the requirement of your specific state says.

Next, there is the element of being under the influence. There are most often three different ways that authorities will determine if an individual is under the influence. These three tactics include the following:

  • Blood-alcohol evidence
  • Field evidence
  • Driver evidence

Blood-alcohol evidence is usually collected through a blood test, a Breathalyzer test or a urine test. Field evidence is gathered by police officers and is usually their own personal testimony regarding the driving, appearance and conduct of the driver as well as the recorded testimony from their vehicle cameras. Driver evidence is usually gathered from the driver’s appearance and the drunk driving symptoms that they exhibit while interacting with officers.

DWI charges and the resulting DWI offenses can be very scary for all those involved. Courts will often prosecute these cases very seriously and the penalties can be severe. Our firm has extensive experience in these types of cases and is available to help at any time of the day, any day of the year. Please see our overview page for more information about a DWI defense.

Source: FindLaw, “Elements of a DUI Offense,” accessed on Aug. 24, 2014