DUI/DWI Defenses

Fighting driving-under-the-influence charges in court.

By , Attorney

DUI laws differ by state, and the facts of every case are different. However, there are a handful of DUI defenses that are commonly used in most jurisdictions. Which DUI defenses might work in a given situation depends—among other things—on the type of DUI the person is charged with and the kind of evidence the prosecution is relying on.

Types of DUI/DWI Charges

Generally, there are two types of DUI charges: "per se" charges and charges based on impairment. In some cases, a defendant might be charged with one or the other. But it's fairly common for a defendant to face both types of charges for a single incident. A defendant can be found guilty of both. However, the court normally would impose penalties for only one of the convictions.

Generally, a motorist can be convicted of a per se DUI for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. (Some states also have per se drug DUI laws.) An impairment DUI conviction, on the other hand, requires proof that the driver was actually "under the influence" or "intoxicated" by the substances taken.

Common DUI/DWI Defenses

Prosecutors must prove all the elements of a DUI to get a conviction. In other words, the prosecution must show the motorist was:

  • driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle, and
  • under the influence or in violation of the state's DUI per se laws.

Fighting a DUI charge normally involves efforts to prevent the prosecution from proving one or both of these elements. So, most DUI defenses focus on:

The best strategy will always depend on the facts and the type of DUI charge that you're fighting.

Talk to a DUI Attorney

Some DUI defenses might be obvious while others are more subtle. For a thorough assessment of the available defenses in your case, get in contact with an experienced DUI lawyer. A qualified DUI attorney can tell you how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide how best to handle your situation.

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