Not Driving as a Defense in a Los Angeles DUI Case

In order for someone to be found guilty of a Los Angeles DUI, the prosecutors must prove two separate elements: 1) Driving and 2) while intoxicated. Both elements must be proven, if there is only one, the person cannot be charged with a DUI.

So, if you were not driving while you were intoxicated, you could not be charged for a DUI. However, driving is often a gray area and could prove to be difficult to prove..or disprove. This is why a Los Angeles DUI lawyer is so essential and beneficial to a DUI case. They know precisely what arguments to make and what evidence to present, to ensure that the gray area leans in the favor of their client. The best way to understand this idea is to illustrate an example from a case.

The client was intoxicated when she got a call from her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was also intoxicated at a local hotel and was arguing with hotel staff in the lobby. She was called to come and get him before he got arrested. She drove to the hotel to pick him. Once she got him and got into her vehicle, officers arrived at the scene. Officers were presumably called by hotel staff regarding her boyfriend and his behavior in the lobby. Before she could drive off in her vehicle, she was asked to step out of the vehicle and submit to an alcohol screening test. She was then arrested for a DUI. The client’s position is that she was not driving, and if she was not driving she could not be arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

There is much room for arguments in this case. On one hand, the client is right, she was not driving at the time officers arrived, and they simply assumed she was. But, on the other hand, officers do not necessarily have to directly observe you driving, if it is possible to assume, with evidence that it could be assumed they were driving, then the client may still be guilty.

When an officer directly observes a person driving, it is direct evidence of driving. When an officer has to infer driving from evidence and circumstances, it is considered to be circumstantial evidence. A lack of direct evidence does not necessarily lead to an automatic dismissal of a case, circumstantial evidence may be sufficient.

Officers in the case outlined above, officers would argue that the client drove to the hotel, and while she may not have been driving at the time officers arrived, it is implied that she drove there at some point, and was intoxicated at the time she did. They can use witnesses and surveillance, as well as the results of her alcohol screening test to establish their case. However, it is a subjective argument, and may be disproved with the proper argument and defense. This is why it is essential to retain a Los Angeles DUI lawyer, who can review the evidence, the file and prepare the best possible case for you. Do not hesitate, contact a professional today!