Under the Influence

Under the Influence as an Element of a Pennsylvania DUI Charge

The district attorney prosecuting you for a Pennsylvania DUI must prove every element of the offense of drunk driving in order to convict you. The elements of the offense of a Pennsylvania DUI are driving a vehicle while under the influence, or violating the state's "per se" laws. Your Pennsylvania DUI lawyer at Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. will do everything possible to disprove one or more elements of the offense of drunk driving and create reasonable doubt in your guilt.

The under the influence element of the offense of Pennsylvania DUI hinges on whether you were mentally and/or physically impaired because you used alcohol, drugs (DUID), or a combination of the two. You're considered to have been under the influence if your physical or mental abilities were impaired to the degree that you no longer had the ability to drive a vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person or ordinary prudence, under the same or similar circumstances.

The district attorney will use circumstantial evidence to try to prove that you were under the influence. Circumstantial evidence merely implies that something is true. The district attorney will present evidence that will likely include the arresting officer's observations of your physical appearance, field sobriety test results, and chemical test results.

However, there may be explanations for some of this evidence that have nothing to do with alcohol intoxication. There may be particular problems with evidence presented by the state that indicate physical impairment but no signs of mental impairment. This is problematic because experts agree that alcohol use almost always causes mental impairment before any physical impairment occurs.

Field sobriety tests are another type of evidence that may be vulnerable to challenge by your Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer. Field sobriety tests purportedly detect both mental and physical impairment by requiring you to concentrate on two tasks at once. However, these tests are designed for failure. There are many factors that could cause you to "fail" your field sobriety test, including illness, injury, disability, or a number of other factors.

Clearly, the evidence of being under the influence in a Pennsylvania DUI case may be attributable to factors that have nothing to do with drinking alcohol. Your Pennsylvania DUI lawyer at Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. will investigate whether injury, illness, or other factors may have been responsible for circumstantial evidence of impairment. Please contact us today for a free consultation.