Impaired To The Slightest Degree

Would It Be An Easy Case To Win If Someone Was “Impaired To The Slightest Degree”?

No. A person should not take it lightly anytime they are charged with any crime. Impaired to the slightest degree is a term that most people are not familiar with; most people are familiar with the 0.08 thresholdwhen it comes to DUI law. The 0.08 threshold is popular in the media and is the one that most people know. Actually, most states have a statute or a law very similar to Arizona’s that states, “A person could be convicted if they were impaired by any substance to at least the slightest degree.”

The question will arise regarding what was impairing the person to the slightest degree. The tough part for the state or the prosecutor’s office will be to prove beyond a reasonable doubt what that means, and have a jury believe it and agree on it. They use a lot of different evidence to argue that someone was impaired to the slightest degree. They will press a DUI charge against someone under the impaired to the slightest degree theory even if their blood alcohol level, for an alcohol case, was under 0.08. These charges should not be taken lightly.

What Are Examples Of Evidence That Police Officers Take Into Consideration If A BAC Is Below 0.08?

The state has the burden of proof, so they have to show that the person was impaired to at least the slightest degree. Theywill look atthe suspect’s driving behavior and whether it is indicative of someone who might be impaired by alcohol or drugs. After the person is stopped, they look at a lot of things. For example, how the person reacted to the officer’s questions, whether the person was responsive, whether they fumbled when they grabbed their license and registration, and whether they were quick or lethargic.

One of the reasons field sobriety testswere created is so, at trial, the state can claim they testedthe person’s divided attention. That means the person’s ability to perform multiple functions at the same time while they are driving a car. A person can sometimes seem impaired just by the way they respondverbally. All that evidence is taken together so the state can try to prove to the jury that the combination of test results and the person’s behavior show the person was impaired to the slightest degree.

A good defense lawyerwill be able to get the jury to look at everything individually, because there might be a good reason why the person seemed impaired. For example, many elderly people do not perform well on field sobriety tests, sober or not. Our job, as defense attorneys is to show that those tests are not really a good measure of whether or not the person was impaired to the slightest degree.

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