Law gavel next to glass of alcohol and car keys on a wooden desk

What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove for a DUI Conviction?

Guilfoil Law Group Oct. 25, 2023

In the state of Missouri, drivers are prohibited from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Once you're arrested for alleged drunk driving, you must pass through the criminal justice system to determine whether you're guilty or not. However, a DUI conviction will only be possible if the prosecutor can provide substantial evidence and prove other elements of the DUI charges beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s understandable to be overwhelmed when facing a DUI conviction; however, you don’t have to face challenges alone.  

At Guilfoil Law Group, I'm committed to offering comprehensive guidance and reliable representation to clients in their DUI cases. As a Missouri criminal defense attorney, I can investigate every aspect of your case and tell you about what the prosecution must prove to convict you. In addition, I will outline a solid strategy to fight your charges in pursuit of the most favorable outcome for your unique situation. My firm proudly serves clients across Kansas City, Clay County, Jackson County, and Platte County, Missouri. 

Overview of Missouri DUI Laws and Penalties

According to Missouri laws, a person may be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) for operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle: 

  • with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of at least 0.08%, or 

  • while "under the influence" of alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances. 

Upon reasonable suspicion of intoxicated driving, a police officer may stop your vehicle, arrest you, and take samples of your blood, breath, and saliva for DUI tests. Depending on the DUI test results, you may be arraigned and officially charged with drunk driving. If convicted, you may be subject to massive fines, lengthy imprisonment, a criminal record, license suspension, and other life-changing ramifications. 

What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove in Order to Convict a Person of DUI?

If you're charged with a DUI/DWI in Missouri, the prosecution attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: 

  • You were under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a controlled substance, and 

  • You were driving, operating, or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. 

If you're facing DUI charges in Missouri, you need to reach out to a seasoned DUI/DWI defense attorney immediately. Your legal counsel can investigate all of the facts of your case and gather substantial evidence to dispute the allegations against you. 

The Role of Toxicology Reports and Breathalyzers in Proving Impairment

Under Missouri laws, a law enforcement officer may arrest you for DWI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08% or more. In order to prove drunk driving, the prosecution may present the following as evidence: 

  • The results of the breathalyzer, blood, or saliva test. 

  • Statements from the arresting officer. 

  • The results of the field sobriety test. 

  • The results of the toxicology test. 

  • Witness statements or testimony. 

Essentially, both the toxicology and breathalyzer test will search for traces of alcohol or drugs in your blood, saliva, blood, hair, sweat, or urine. A positive test result indicates that there are traces of alcohol or controlled substances in your system. Conversely, a negative result shows that you're clean and there are no substances in your system. 

Common Defenses Used by Defendants against DUI Charges 

When charged with DUI in Missouri, your lawyer can fight the false allegations against you with any of these legal defenses: 

  • The police officer lacked probable cause to stop your car. 

  • The breath or blood test results were incorrect. 

  • The Breathalyzer or breath test device was incorrectly calibrated. 

  • There were violations of the rules of test procedure and evidence. 

  • The field sobriety test was not administered properly. 

  • The blood test wasn't handled properly in the chain of custody. 

  • Unlawful stop or procedures. 

  • The arresting officer violated your civil rights. 

  • Falsely high BAC results as a result of your health conditions or taking certain medications. 

  • The DUI test result was false positive. 

  • You weren't intoxicated or stoned, or your driving wasn't impaired. 

  • Improper interrogation or Miranda rights violations. 

  • There is no evidence that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle. 

A dependable DUI/DWI defense lawyer can help determine the appropriate defense strategy to fight your charges and ultimately get the prosecutor or judge to drop or dismiss the case. 

Team Up With a Skilled Attorney

Having effective representation when fighting your DUI/DWI charges is imperative to uphold your freedom and driving privileges. At Guilfoil Law Group, I have the skill and diligence to represent and defend clients who have been wrongfully charged with DUI. With my extensive knowledge, I can fight aggressively to defend your rights, refute the allegations against you with substantial evidence and facts, and help keep your record as clean as possible. 

Contact me at Guilfoil Law Group today to schedule a simple case evaluation with a trusted criminal defense lawyer. I can help you navigate the Missouri criminal justice system and represent you vigorously at every phase of the legal process. My firm proudly serves clients across Kansas City, Clay County, Jackson County, and Platte County, Missouri.