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Anatomy of a DUI

In a prosecution for a DUI, the state must prove that the person was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle.  If the prosecutor cannot establish either one of these two elements, you will not be guilty of a DUI regardless of impairment.

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If the prosecutor establishes that the person was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle, impairment must be proven.  The prosecutor can establish impairment by two methods.  One method allows the prosecutor to prove impairment by showing that the person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.  Examples of normal faculties include the ability to see, hear, talk, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile and act in emergencies.  All of the observations made by the police officer pertaining to the stop of the vehicle, face-to-face contact with the driver and the field sobriety exercises are evidence for establishing impairment under this method.

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A second method for proving impairment is by a chemical analysis of a person’s blood to determine alcoholic content or a chemical or physical test of a person’s breath.  If there was at that time a blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, that fact is prima facie evidence that the person was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired.