Under the Influence
New Jersey DWI / DUI arrests can be prosecuted under two theories – driving while impaired, and having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater. The prosecutor does not need to prove both elements in order to get a conviction. If the judge is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of either allegation, the driver will be convicted of New Jersey drunk driving.
The stakes are extremely high in New Jersey drinking and driving cases, so it’s critical to have a skilled attorney fighting for the driver’s rights. New Jersey DWI / DUI defense attorney Evan Levow has the knowledge and experience to effectively fight both allegations.
A driving under the influence allegation concentrates on whether the motorist was impaired from alcohol or drug use. A driver is considered under the influence if he or she is impaired to such a degree that he no longer has the ability to drive a vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person under the same or similar circumstances.
Driving under the influence is typically proven through circumstantial evidence that includes field sobriety test results, driving patterns, and other observations made by the arresting officer. The prosecutor also will introduce the driver’s chemical test results.
Circumstantial evidence differs from direct evidence in one key way – circumstantial evidence merely implies that something is true.
Aggressive challenges are available to all of a prosecutor’s evidence that suggests the driver was impaired. A great deal of the evidence offered to support the allegation of driving under the influence focuses on physical impairment. To see how this evidence can be effectively challenged, it’s helpful to understand how alcohol affects the human body.
Experts agree that while alcohol causes both mental and physical impairment, mental impairment always occurs first. Therefore, evidence that solely implies physical impairment isn’t proof that the driver was under the influence. If the motorist displayed physical problems, but no mental impairment, then any physical difficulties must have stemmed from a source other than alcohol. Physical impairment can be caused by many factors that have nothing to do with alcohol use.
For example, the arresting officer may be asked to testify about the accused motorist’s red and watery eyes, or inability to stand on one foot, as proof that the driver was impaired. But obviously, irritated eyes can stem from many issues unrelated to alcohol intoxication, such as allergies, fatigue, or air pollution. An inability to stand on one foot could be caused by an injury, or just poor balance.
The bottom line is that even though prosecutors present evidence of a driver’s impairment as irrefutable proof of intoxication, in reality those signs and symptoms can be attributed to many causes unrelated to alcohol use. A skilled NJ DWI / DUI drunk driving defense attorney at Levow DWI Law, P.C. will take a complete medical history to determine whether the driver suffered from any conditions that could be mistaken as impairment, and incorporate that information into a strategic defense plan to create reasonable doubt in the driver’s guilt. Call us today at 877-593-1717 for a free consultation.