America has spent billions of dollars on national ad campaigns to discourage drinking and driving. In 2006, the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) introduced a new slogan, “Over the Limit, Under Arrest.” The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sponsored several television ads saying, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” Even with all this increased media awareness, several states in the nation report that more teenage drivers are being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in 2012.
According to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) alcohol related crashes cost the United States approximately $132 billion every year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDD) reports that nearly 11,000 people are killed each year in alcohol-related crashes. One third of those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) are repeat offenders.
By utilizing public service announcements and efforts by groups like MADD; the number of people getting behind the wheel while intoxicated has decreased. However, almost one-third of all crash-related fatalities in the United States can be attributed to drunk driving. Those most likely to be involved in a fatal drunk driving accident include:
1. Young people between the ages of 21 and 24 (27 percent) followed by age groups 25 to 34 (24 percent) and ages 25 to 44 (22 percent).
2. Drivers that have prior DUI convictions
3. The percentage of drivers with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher includes 28 percent for motorcyclists, 23 percent for passenger vehicles and 22 percent for light truck vehicles.
4. Young male drivers are involved in more fatal alcohol related crashes (26 percent) compared with female drivers who attributed for 13 percent of the fatal crashes.
5. Drunk driving appears to be more prevalent on the weekends and BAC levels are five times higher at night.
Evidence Used by Prosecutors in DUI Cases
In all criminal cases, the burden or proof remains on the prosecutor to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. During the discovery process in any trial, the prosecution is required to turn all evidence over to defense counsel. Failing to do so could result in the evidence being inadmissible in court. Every defendant has the right to be represented by criminal defense lawyer. Law enforcement officers are required to follow specific rules and procedures when pulling an individual over on suspicion of drunk driving. The prosecutor’s case usually relies on the following evidence:
1. The police report, which must outline why the officer had probable cause to detain the suspect
2. What the defendant’s physical condition was prior to being arrested
3. If field sobriety tests were conducted at the scene and the results of those tests
4. The blood alcohol content (BAC) of the defendant and if the results were obtained through a blood, breath or urine test
5. In addition to the above, the State may call upon witnesses who were present at the time or who saw the defendant drinking prior to the incident.
Why You Need a Strong Defense Team
The primary goal of the criminal defense attorney is to keep the client from going to jail. If the prosecution has a strong case against the accused, the defendant’s DUI lawyer can try to cut a deal. In some cases a plea bargain will allow to the defendant to plead guilty to lesser charges, thus reducing the amount of fines or jail time. Therefore, it is extremely important to hire an experienced attorney to represent you when you have been charged with a crime.
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