The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

DUI Trial: Evidence Against the Driver

For adults, the legal limit for driving drunk is generally 0.08%. But for a variety of reasons, prosecutors may not have evidence at a DUI trial of a defendant's specific blood alcohol level. Still, this has not stopped prosecutors from charging and convicting drunken drivers.

Individuals stopped for DUI may refuse a blood alcohol test under the belief that they can avoid prosecution without evidence specifying their blood alcohol level. Some individuals may even pass a blood alcohol test.

However, it is common for prosecutors to go after these individuals by using other evidence. Here's a look at some common evidence that prosecutors may use against a drunken driver besides blood alcohol content:

  • Erratic driving. An officer may testify that you were driving like an intoxicated person. This can include frequent lane changes, failure to use your signal, speeding, and wide turns.

  • A driver's appearance. If you look drunk, you could be busted for a DUI regardless of whether you refuse a Breathalyzer. Besides looking disheveled, this can include having red, glassy, and bloodshot eyes and a general flushed appearance.

  • A driver's smell. Alcohol has a powerful smell that can be detected in your breath and attach to your clothing.

  • A driver's speech. If you're drunk, you will likely sound like it. This can include thick and slurred speech.

  • Admissions. If you tell the officer you had five or six drinks before getting behind the wheel, this will likely be used against you in court.

  • Field sobriety tests. A blood alcohol test is just one of many methods that an officer can use to determine your level of impairment. An officer may also have you walk in a straight line, touch your nose, and follow a pen with your eyes.

  • Caught on tape. Most police cruisers are equipped with a camera, so your drunkenness may be caught on tape.

Related Resources: