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Is There a Difference Between Drinking and Driving and DUI?

There is a difference between drinking and driving and being guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol (aka DUI in Florida or DWI in some states). Clearly, if you have been drinking, the safest course of action is to stay the night where you are, let a friend drive or call a taxi. However, we handle a lot of DUI cases in the Jacksonville, Florida area and often see people arrested for DUI who may have had a couple of drinks but whose condition did not rise to the level of a DUI. It is not proper for a police officer to make a DUI arrest just because a person has been drinking. However, this often occurs. That a driver has been drinking is just the threshold factor for a proper DUI investigation. In order for a DUI arrest to be proper, the police officer must have evidence that the driver was under the influence of alcohol to the extent his normal faculties, such as sight, balance, coordination, judgment, are impaired. Therefore, if a person had a couple of drinks at dinner and may have committed a traffic violation but is not showing signs of impairment from alcohol, he/she should not be arrested for DUI. However, police make arrests under these circumstances all of the time.

There are ways for criminal defense attorneys to combat DUI arrests that are based on insufficient evidence and point out common inconsistencies and exaggerations in the police officer’s arrest report and testimony. DUI videos, jail videos and pictures are available that can help disprove an officer’s report and testimony about the condition of the person arrested for DUI both during the DUI investigation and after the DUI arrest. If you have been arrested for DUI in the Jacksonville, Florida area and have questions about how to fight the DUI charge, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.