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Southern California Driving Under the Influence – Proving Driving

Before a person can be convicted of DUI in California, several elements must be proven. There must be probable cause for the person to have been stopped by officers. Also, there must be proof that the person was actually driving the vehicle, and finally there must be a significant blood alcohol level to indicate intoxication.

Proving driving in a DUI case is a significant part of the case. If the government cannot prove that a person was actually driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it does not qualify as a DUI case. Each case has specific facts that may be presented in different ways to prove driving occurred. In some cases, the question of driving is cut and dry and there is little negotiation. However, in many cases proof that a person was driving is not so clear-cut.

Directly Observed Driving During a DUI Stop

If the officer observes, first-hand, that someone is driving, that is the most direct form of proof. An example would be a case in which the officer pulls over someone who is driving with a valid probable cause, and then observes behavior that indicates a possible DUI. In a case like that, there is no question that the person was driving, since the officer witnessed it and will list that fact in his or her report.

DUI Driving Derived by the Facts

The more complicated cases occur when a person is found inside the car and pulled off to the side of the road or parked somewhere. In those types of cases, the prosecution must use the facts and circumstances to make a case that the person charged with Dui was actually driving at some point. Relevant facts in this type of case would be where the person was in relation to the vehicle, where the vehicle’s keys were located, the temperature of the vehicle’s engine, and the location of the vehicle.

For example, if a person is found alone behind the steering wheel with the keys in the ignition on the side of the highway, there is room to argue that the person must have driven to that place at some point before pulling over and falling asleep. In comparison, a case where the person is asleep in the backseat of their car and the car is parked in the parking lot of a bar, there is room to argue that the person never actually drove anywhere, just came out of the bar and fell asleep in their car.

The experienced DUI attorneys at Hoffman & Associates understand how important the facts of proving driving in a DUI can be to your case. We have successfully defended thousands of clients against DUI charges and can put our expertise to work for you. Contact us today for a phone or office consultation where we can learn the facts surrounding your DUI case and explain what options you have.