Most people understand what a DUI means and how and why they are received. However, referencing DUI laws in terms of being ‘per se’ tends to confuse some people. The term per se is used to describe something in and of itself. In reference to DUI cases, per se laws essentially establish that as far as the law is concerned an individual is intoxicated at a BAC of 0.08. The general belief is that no other evidence aside from and over the limit BAC is needed to establish intoxication.
Every state in the nation has per se DUI laws. Under these laws, officers may charge a driver with DUI based on a BAC of 0.08 and nothing more. However, per se DUI laws do not speak to impairment due to driving under the influence of drugs. Even though several states have established some type of per se DUI law as it pertains to drugged driving, Florida is not one of them.
Having per se drugged driving laws does not necessarily make prosecution of alleged drugged drivers easy. Charges based on drugged driving are particularly difficult to prove. Even with a zero tolerance rule in regards to drugged driving, establishing proof of the presence of certain types of prohibited substances is more difficult than proving an over the limit BAC. Alcohol is typically ingested in one form. Although everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, the route alcohol must take to exit the body is the same for everyone. With prohibited substances, not only do people metabolize them differently, but the effects may have completely worn off weeks before they are completely out of an individual system.
Regardless of per se DUI laws or living in a state with per se drugged driving laws, no DUI charge is ever really an open and shut case. Many different factors and elements can be considered to determine innocence or guilt. For individuals facing a DUI or drugged driving charge, speaking to an attorney may help identify these factors and use them to significantly reduce, if not eliminate charges.