Understanding The Burden Of Proof In A Georgia DUI Case
Being charged with a DUI can be an overwhelming event that many find leaves them feeling somewhat doomed and powerless. The good news is that just because you have been charged with DUI does not mean you will be convicted. It can be easy to feel like as soon as you are charged and placed in cuffs that your fate is set in stone. However, you actually have a significant amount of power to affect the outcome of your case after you are charged. The best way to do this is by hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent you. Your lawyer will assess your case to determine whether any bases for dismissal exist. Your lawyer may also work to negotiate a plea bargain from the prosecution which would allow you to plead to a less serious offense. In the event that your case goes to trial, your DeKalb County DUI lawyer will develop a defense strategy to maximize your chances of being found not guilty.
What is the Burden of Proof?
When the police make an arrest and press criminal charges, it becomes the state’s responsibility to take these charges to court and get a conviction. Defendants in the United States are innocent until proven guilty, and it is the burden of the prosecution to prove that they are guilty. The degree to which the prosecution must establish guilt is also very high. In order to prove that you are guilty of DUI, the prosecution must prove that you committed the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if any jurors have doubts about whether you were really driving under the influence of alcohol or other impairing substances, then you should not be convicted of the crime.
The Elements of a DUI
In order to establish that a DUI occurred, the prosecution must establish two elements:
- The individual was under the influence (either impaired or above the legal limit); and
- The individual was in control of a moving motor vehicle.
Both of these elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense attorney will work to create doubt about these factors to keep the prosecution from reaching their burden of proof as part of their defense strategy. For instance, you may be able to challenge the accuracy or validity of the chemical test results or the reliability of the field sobriety tests that were given in order to create doubt as to whether you were actually under the influence. If you were in a parked vehicle but not driving, you can argue that you were not actually in control of or operating a moving motor vehicle. The best defense for you will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.
Schedule a Consultation with Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers
If you have been charged with DUI in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, or the greater Georgia area, Hawkins Spizman Trial Attorneys will fight to get the best possible outcome in your case. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can start working for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.