If an individual was arrested at home for allegedly hitting a fence while intoxicated, can they be charged with DUI even if there is no proof they were in the vehicle?

Asked on August 29, 2014 under Criminal Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Less evidence or proof is required to first charge someone than to later convict them, so it's possible often to charge someone even when a case is weak and  they will ultimately be acquitted in court.

However, there still must be some evidence that the person was driving while intoxicated. That said, the evidence can be circumstantial or inferential rather than concrete "proof." For example: say that they find pieces of the fence in your car's grill or bumper, and paint from your car on the damaged fence. Say that they know that the accident occured between 11pm and 1am on a certain day. Say that you were found to be drunk at 2am when the police came, and from what you told them and the alcohol in your system (or what other witnesses told them), they know you would have been drunk between 11pm and 1am. And say that you never said (or can't prove) that another person borrowed or stole your car. If the car hit a fence during a period that you were drunk and there is no claim or evidence that someone other than you took the car, that's enough to arrest--and possibly convict--you.

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