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What are the elements of a DUI offense?

It's no secret that law enforcement officials have cracked down on drunk driving all across the United States. With the hundreds of serious injuries and fatalities that occur each year in drunk driving accidents, this increased enforcement is clearly necessary. When a Virginia driver is pulled over for drunk driving, there are certain elements that need to be proven in order for the driver to be charged with a DUI and be convicted.

What are the elements of a DUI offense? In order to be convicted of a DUI, a driving element of the offense must be proven. Different states have different ideas as to what constitutes as "driving." Some states require the driver to have had physical control of the vehicle. In other cases, a person using their car as a temporary shelter may also meet the driving element criteria.

It can be difficult to determine whether the driving element of a DUI has been met. Courts will consider various factors such as the location of the vehicle, location of the driver, location of the keys and whether the vehicle was operable when making this decision.

There is also an "under the influence" element that must be proven in order to convict someone of a DUI. Field evidence, blood-alcohol evidence and driver evidence are all used by officers to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol. Police officers will study a driver's physical appearance and behavior at the time of the incident.

Any incriminating statements made by the driver or poor performance during a field sobriety tests may be used against the driver. Blood-alcohol content can be determined via Breathalyzer, blood test or urine test. However, these tests are sometimes administered improperly, which could void the results.

If both elements are proven, a driver may be convicted of a DUI and face serious consequences. However, you may be able to successfully defend against these charges. Anyone accused of a drunk driving offense is afforded the right to defend those allegations. Drivers should be aware of his or her rights and defense options available to them.

Source: FindLaw, "Elements of a DUI Offense," accessed on July 14, 2015

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