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Can I Be Arrested for DUI After the Fact?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on December 02, 2015 8:54 AM

Just because you managed to get home, or wherever else you were driving, doesn't mean you're out of the woods yet. You may have managed to avoid the sobriety checkpoints or being pulled over, but if you drove drunk you can still be arrested and charged with a DUI. While arrests for DUI after the fact are rare, they do happen and the penalties can be just as serious.

Here's how the police (and you) may deal with a DUI arrest after the fact:

DUI Elements

While state DUI laws can vary, the standard elements of a DUI offense are fairly common: (1) that you were driving a motor vehicle, and (2) that you were under the influence when you were driving. While these elements can be more difficult to prove if you are contacted by law enforcement after you've driven, it's not impossible.

First, eye witnesses could've seen you driving, especially if you were driving poorly or if there was an accident. Or your driving could've been caught on tape or demonstrated through bridge or highway tolls. The police themselves don't have to catch you while you're driving -- they just need to prove you drove.

Second, police must prove you were under the influence. Officers can still administer a sobriety test at your home or elsewhere even if you're not driving at the time. Generally, the tests are accurate enough that police can figure out what your blood alcohol level would've been when you were driving.

DUI After the Fact Defenses

A DUI after the fact can be more difficult to prove, however. You could challenge the first element by arguing that you weren't driving -- that it wasn't your car or that someone else was driving it. And you could challenge the second element by arguing that you weren't under the influence while you were driving -- that the sobriety test is inaccurate or that you became intoxicated later.

Of course, these arguments are probably left to a good lawyer. If you've been arrested for a DUI after the fact, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney near you.

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