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What is the prosecution’s burden of proof in a DUI case?

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

No one expects to be arrested for driving under the influence. After all, you are very responsible with your drinking and believe you know your limits. You would never contemplate drunk driving.

Still, there may come a time when you are pulled over by Mississippi police on suspicion of drunk driving. You may perform field sobriety tests or a breath test and before you know it, you are arrested for DUI.

If this happens to you, it does not mean you are automatically guilty. The prosecution has a burden of proof that must be met before you can before you can be convicted of DUI.

DUI offenses in Mississippi and the burden of proof

Mississippi has several drunk driving offenses. The prosecution’s burden of proof depends on the offense at issue.

One offense is common law DUI. This means you are impaired by alcohol and cannot operate your vehicle safely.

If you are arrested for common law DUI, BAC tests are generally not available or are inadmissible in court. The prosecution bears the burden of proving you were impaired to the point that you lacked the clarity and control to drive a vehicle.

A second offense is driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater for those over age 21, a BAC of 0.02 or greater for those below age 21 or a BAC of 0.04 for those driving commercial vehicles.

The prosecution bears the burden in DUIs based on BACs of proving that the breath test instrument was accurate, was operated correctly and that all necessary procedures were followed when the breath test was given.

As this shows, just because you were arrested for DUI does not automatically mean you will be found guilty. The prosecution has a burden of proof that you are allowed to counter with arguments and evidence of your own in your DUI defense. If the prosecution cannot meet its burden of proof, you cannot be convicted of DUI.