Driving while under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol may be one of the most common offenses that people get arrested for in South Carolina. Despite the prevalence of impaired driving arrests and charges, quite a few people still struggle to understand what constitutes impaired driving and how the state demonstrates impairment in criminal proceedings.

Here is some information that may help you better understand what goes into a successful drunk driving prosecution. Once you understand what police need to prove in order to charge you with a DUI offense, you can make better decisions about your defense strategy.

Police must prove that you were in control of a motor vehicle

Police will often record their interactions during a traffic stop either through the use of a dashcam or a camera installed in their body armor. 

One of the most important things that the video will capture in an impaired-driving case will be that the accused was in the driver’s seat, possibly with the car running or at least with the keys in the ignition. Demonstrating that someone was in a position to drive the vehicle, even if they weren’t in motion at the time of the encounter police, is a critical aspect of an impaired-driving charge.

Police need to demonstrate evidence of chemical impairment as well

Showing that you were in the car is only half the battle. Police need to demonstrate either through an analysis of your behavior or through the physical evidence they collected that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their interaction with you. 

The most straightforward ways in which police gather evidence on these issues include performing field sobriety tests and requesting chemical samples from drivers. However, if a driver refuses to comply with police instructions to perform field sobriety tests or provide a sample for chemical testing, police officers may then wind up testifying in court about the behavior that they witnessed, as well as your refusal to comply with their request for chemical testing. 

It’s always wiser to avoid drinking and driving entirely. If you make a mistake, however, make sure that you discuss your situation with an experienced defense attorney right away.