The following is important information on what needs to be proven in Norfolk in order to secure a conviction for driving under the influence. If you have been charged for DUI, call and schedule a consultation with a Norfolk DUI lawyer today.
In a Norfolk DUI case, the prosecutor needs to prove first that the defendant was driving or operating a vehicle on a highway, and second that the defendant was doing so while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The prosecutor needs to prove this to the judge if it is a bench trial in general district court or to a jury if it is a jury trial in circuit court.
The standard is: “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that a judge has to have no doubt as to the defendant’s guilt. If the only doubts are unreasonable, then the prosecutor has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore the defendant should be pronounced guilty for the charge.
There is a lot of variety in the technical evidence that can be presented in Norfolk DUI cases. Generally, whatever happened during a stop is what’s going to come into play. So if the officer got the driver to agree to take the preliminary breath test then he will say that this went towards probable cause for the arrest. He can testify as to the field sobriety tests and how the defendant performed on them. Sometimes if there were witnesses then there will be witness testimony as to what occurred and what they saw.
Typically, however, it is just the observations made by a police officer of the event that constitutes all of the evidence. For this reason, it’s really important to have an attorney who can make sure that the officer did everything correct and isn’t violating any of the defendant’s rights.
In DUI cases in Norfolk there are definitely some constitutional issues that may arise. There are fourth amendment issues as well as fifth amendment issues. For example, the prosecution has to show reasonable articulable suspicion for the officer to have stopped the vehicle in the first place. Without reasonable articulable suspicion, the whole entire case can be dismissed regardless of what happens after stop.
This is not a very high standard so generally this isn’t a tough hurdle to make, but the prosecution also has to prove that there was probable cause for the arrest. Once the officer places the defendant under arrest, we walk into fifth amendment issues.
The officer is required to read the driver his Miranda rights only after the driver is in custody before questioning him. If the officer fails to do this, then anything the driver says afterward is not admissible evidence in court.
These constitutional issues can heavily impact the case because they go towards determining which evidence is eventually allowed to be admitted into court if a police officer is not following correct procedure then a case may be dismissed on a technicality due to these constitutional issues.
Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.