Does the State Have to Prove that I Purposefully Drove Under the Influence?

October 14, 2020

It is enough to show that you drove under the influence to convict you of DUI

Does the State Have to Prove that I Purposefully Drove Under the Influence?

In the criminal justice world, there are two broad types of crimes: specific intent and general intent. The different between these two types of crimes is important.

As a DUI defense lawyer in Orange County, CA can explain, with specific intent crimes, the prosecutor must show that you acted with some level of intent — maliciously, willfully, or even recklessly. In other words, the prosecutor must prove your state of mind at the time that you allegedly committed an unlawful act. With general intent crimes, it is enough for the state to show that you committed the unlawful act.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a general intent crime. This means that if you are charged with a California DUI, it doesn’t matter if you intended to drive drunk. The very fact that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs may be enough to convict you.

There are some situations where your lack of intent may come into play in a DUI case, however. For example, if you were involuntarily intoxicated, your DUI defense lawyer in Orange County, CA may use that as a defense to a DUI charge. This may happen if someone drugged you or spiked your drink in some way. Involuntary intoxication defenses can be difficult to prove, so it is important to work with an attorney with a high level of skill and experience.

Voluntary intoxication is not a defense to a DUI charge. This means that if you willingly consumed drugs (even prescription medications) and/or alcohol and then got behind the wheel, you can be convicted of a DUI. Even though you might have been too intoxicated to fully understand the choice that you were making to drive, all the prosecutor has to show is that you committed the unlawful act of driving when you were too impaired to operate a motor vehicle safely.

Because DUI is a general intent crime in California, it may be easier for a prosecutor to secure a DUI conviction. However, there are a number of defenses to a DUI charge that a skilled DUI defense lawyer in Orange County, CA can use to get the charges reduced or dismissed, or to achieve a not guilty verdict at trial. The specific defense used will depend on the facts of your case, but may include a false high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading due to a medical condition, the police had no basis for a lawful traffic stop, or even that your so-called symptoms of intoxication were actually due to something else, like allergies.

At the Chambers Law Firm, we use our decades of experience to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome. If you have been charged with a California DUI, contact us today at 855-397-0210 or info@orangecountyduifirm.com to schedule a free initial consultation,

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