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Proving a DWI case can be difficult (Cont.)

In the recent crash, he has not yet been charged with any alcohol related charges, and this may be tied to the fact that he fled after the crash.

His passenger told police that had been drinking prior to the crash. The driver turned himself in on Sunday night. The crash occurred at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, so it is unlikely that law enforcement would have been able to obtain an accurate measure of his blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the collision after he surrendered to authorities.

This is because BAC diminishes with time, as the body oxidizes the alcohol in the blood. This is why law enforcement attempts to obtain a blood test as soon as possible when arresting an individual on a DWI charge.

While they will likely use the testimony of the passenger to support claims he was intoxicated, given the lack of direct evidence, it may be difficult to show that the crash was alcohol-related. He may simply have been speeding, and could have been distracted by conversation with his passenger or his phone. And this will not diminish the likelihood of a conviction for the involuntary manslaughter charge.

Working against him is the fact that his passenger stated he had been drinking. If they cooperate with prosecutors and provide detailed information regarding the alcohol consumption prior to the crash, it could allow for a DWI charge to be added.

Police and prosecutors are likely interviewing any other witnesses, to see if they can accumulate enough testimony that would allow them to argue he was intoxicated. If they cannot obtain such testimony, they may refrain from filing alcohol related charges.

Source: stltoday.com, "Man charged in fatal weekend crash in St. Charles faces DWI charge from deadly October wreck," Susan Welch, July 7, 2015

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