For the offense to qualify as a DUI, complete intoxication is not necessary but the level of alcohol must prevent a driver from driving safely. Therefore, a person commits the offense of DUI when the alcohol content in his/her body is above the statutory limit.
Blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is the level at which a person cannot drive safely. The BAC limit is fixed by state statutes, and the statutory limit varies from state to state. A majority of the states have fixed BAC limit at 0.08% or above. The blood alcohol content level is examined by testing blood samples or by taking a breath sample. The device used for analyzing blood alcohol content from a breath sample is called a breathalyzer.
A person accused of DUI has a constitutional right to demand and get material evidence against him/her from the prosecution. A motion in limine is a motion that can be filed by an accused for securing evidence from prosecution. The ratio of alcohol in the breath to alcohol in the blood is called a partition ratio. Sometimes partition ratio varies considerably. A variation in partition ratio is not admissible as evidence in the courts.
However, in some jurisdictions, the offense of DUI or DWI is illegal per se and proof of intoxication is not needed. A person may be convicted solely based on the BAC limit at the time of being in physical control of a motor vehicle. A majority of jurisdictions impose severe punishment to commercial drivers for exceeding the blood alcohol level statutory limit.
Generally, a DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable with imprisonment up to one year. However, the offense of DUI may be a felony if drunk drivers commit:
- serious injury;
- extensive property damage; or
- have previous convictions.
Driving While Intoxicated and License Suspension
A state may suspend an individual's driving license for drunk driving under administrative license suspension (ALS) laws. Generally, license suspension follows a person's conviction for driving under the influence or DUI. However, in some jurisdictions, conviction is not necessary for suspending license. According to ALS laws, licenses are suspended without criminal proceedings when:
- a drunken driver refuses to do blood testing or breath analysis test or;
- a driver's blood test indicates blood alcohol content above the statutory limit.
Sometimes, in lieu of a suspended license, the state issues a hardship license. A hardship license is a restricted license that permits the license owner to drive a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension to maintain the necessities of life or to earn a livelihood.
For more information, you can refer to DUI guide in the US Legal Forms website. Our website also contains various DUI forms including samples of motion in limine.