In order for prosecutors to convict you of Driving under the influence, they must prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt: that you were driving, and you were intoxicated at the time you were driving. It is crucial that prosecutors prove both elements, not just one. Unless they can prove both elements, they cannot convict you.
For example, Dana was drinking at the bar and then walked home to her apartment which was a few blocks away. Officers cannot arrest her for a Los Angeles DUI. Even though she was intoxicated, she was not driving. Similarly, David was driving home from the bar but had only had water while he was there. He cannot be arrested for a DUI because although he was driving, he was not intoxicated.
This is why it is very crucial whether driving can be proven in a DUI case. Oftentimes it is very clear as to whether there is driving or not, but sometimes it is not so cut and dry. When it is not so clear, it makes prosecutor’s case weaker and the case for the person being charged much stronger.
The best way to understand how driving can be vague and open to argument is to illustrate it with an example. Donny was leaving a friend’s birthday at a local restaurant. Once he got to his vehicle, he realized that he was more intoxicated than he thought and should not take a chance driving his vehicle. So Donny put his car keys in the trunk of the car, and lay down in the back seat. He had his receipt for dinner in his pocket. Soon he fell asleep and was awoken by an officer’s flashlight, after which he was promptly arrested for suspicion of a DUI.
Compare to Dina who was driving home from a happy hour with co-workers. She got onto the freeway on ramp and realized she was intoxicated. She exited immediately and pulled onto the street and fell asleep in the driver’s seat with the key in the ignition. Officers promptly arrested her.
Donny was never driving. It is apparent from the facts of his case. He was still in the parking lot of the restaurant he had dined at that day, he had the receipt to prove it. The keys were in the trunk and he was asleep in the backseat, so chances are he never drove anywhere, but just stayed where he was. Prosecutors would not be able to make a strong case for driving. Consider Dina, she was on a street next to the freeway with no bars nearby. It is still black and white as to whether she had driven, but her case is weaker than Donny’s.
If driving is not clear and cut in your case, it is more crucial than ever that you contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney. The attorney has extensive knowledge and experience and can present the strongest possible argument to get your case dismissed.