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What is a normal faculty?

It is very common to hear driving under the influence DUI) begin referred to as drunk driving. However, it is important to know that a person can be arrested and convicted of DUI but not be drunk or what a person may consider being drunk. The prosecutor at a trial is not required to prove that a person is drunk but only impaired. Starting from the beginning to prove the crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) the prosecutor must prove two (2) elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The first is that the person drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle. Second, that the person was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance to the extent that the person’s normal faculties were impaired. A prosecutor can attempt to prove a DUI by showing a person’s normal faculties were impaired or that the person had a breath or blood alcohol level over a .08. We are going to focus on the impairment theory DUI, where a prosecutor would attempt to prove impairment based on the totality of the circumstances, the odor of alcohol, driving pattern (if any), slurred speech, red or watery eyes, field sobriety exercises (FSE) (if performed) mood swings, the list can go on and on as far as what evidence a prosecutor may use to try and show impairment of a person’s normal faculties. Ok, but what is considered a normal faculty? Florida Jury instruction 28.1 Driving Under the Influence defines normal faculties as but not limited to the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive, make judgments, act in emergencies, and in general, to normally perform the many mental and physical acts of our daily lives. While impairment means diminished in some material respect. So, in a case without a breath or blood test result, the prosecutor will attempt to link everything back to that definition. The good news is that there are defenses and arguments that can be made to refute the impairment argument, the person was nervous, the FSE’s were conducted on unlevel ground, the lighting was poor, allergies caused the redness in their eyes, and so on. If you have been arrested for DUI it is important to know your options, your rights, and the potential defenses or motions that you may have in your specific case, at Meldon Law we have the knowledge and experience to assist you in every aspect of your case. The attorneys at Meldon Law, know the rights you have and are dedicated to defending them and defending you if you have been charged with a firearm or weapons offense call us at 352-373-8000 for a free consultation.

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