Driving under the influence of alcohol – DUI – is the most common violation of the law in the United States. It’s a difficult charge to defend against because it requires more science knowledge than most felonies.

DUI cases have grown increasingly more complex while the stakes for the person accused of DUI have gone up. In fact, the entire DUI scene has changed in ways that can best be characterized as revolutionary. These changes are no doubt due to heightened awareness of driving under the influence provoked by media attention and lobbies like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The biggest change in the statutes is the so-called DWI “per se” law. Since 1982, a majority of states have created a new offense: driving while having an excessive blood-alcohol content (BAC) level (of 0.08 percent). This crime, usually charged along with the conventional driving under the influence offense, is unconcerned with whether or not a driver was in fact intoxicated; the crime is entirely biological and has nothing to do with any harm a driver may pose to others or oneself.

New devices are being used to “prove” a defendant’s BAC level. Infrared spectroscopic instruments now dominate the field, with such units as the Intoxilyzer 5000 offering three-band analysis, internal computerization, acetone detection, and radio frequency interference options. But as these instruments become more complex, they are also increasingly susceptible to false readings. New hand-held breath-testing devices are notoriously inaccurate yet increasingly used by police departments.

An experienced DUI defense attorney takes the time to understand police and prosecution techniques and procedures. A good California driving under the influence defense lawyer can assess the charge against you, examine eyewitnesses, and gather evidence in your defense. At trial, a good DUI defense lawyer will cross-examine the arresting officers to find any discrepancies in the testimony, any inconsistency in the breath or blood tests, and any other factors which may enhance your defense. If you face a driving under the influence charge in California, you should know that penalties are stiff and consequences can be long-term, so it’s imperative to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney right away.