Asked about 1 year ago - Santa Clara, CAFlag
My brother and I were driving on the freeway and ran out of gas, he was the driver of the vehicle. We took off walking. A little over an hour later, I realized that I left something in the car. I hadn't yet reached the car and a police officer stopped me. He asked me if I had been drinking, I told him yes. He asked why I was walking, and I explained to him that i was walking back to the car because I ran out of gas. We never returned to the car. he ended up arresting me for a DUI. Because I had said that "I ran out of gas" he is using that as an admission that I was the driver of the vehicle.
Can this admission be used in court if he had not arrested me, given me Miranda rights, or accused me of drunk driving before hand?
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Yes the statement can be used in court. The police were conducting an investigation and were asking questions. Minranda rights only need to be read during custodial interrigations, meaning you are not free to leave. There is some case law that splits the "free to leave" aspect of it but generally yes they can ask you that, under those circumstances, and you anser can be used in court.
With all that said it is still a very weak case for the DA. They have to establish that you were driving and at the time you were driving your BAC was over a .08%. Your admission can be explained by you or your brother at trial. And your BAC could have been below the legal limit if you were driving anyway and above .08 over an hour later. Contact some local DUI attorneys. it sounds like you have a good shot at getting this case dismissed or winning at trial.
You have a great case to try and beat! Why, you weren't actually caught driving, you had run out of gas. The real issue is, what it says in the police report.
If you only stated what you did, than you have a really good case to beat, if not and you made an admissions that you were driving and never had a drink since, than, that may really not work.
If you would like a free consultation, please feel free to give me a call.
Whether or not the police officer had probable cause to stop and, ultimately, arrest you for a DUI is entirely dependent on all the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. The detail provided in your questions is a good start but not nearly adequate enough to properly evaluate your situation. There are many more questions that need to be answered to truly evaluate your case. For example, where was the car parked ...on the side of the freeway? Were you walking along the freeway when the police contacted you? What time did this occur? Were you by yourself or was your brother with you? Any lawyer suggesting that you have a great case based solely upon the information contained in your question is doing nothing more than telling you what you want to hear in an effort to get your business. This is not what you need. Do yourself a favor, contact a few experienced DUI lawyers and sit down for a free case evaluation and get the answers you need and deserve. I hope this answer was helpful. Good luck.
Go to trial. The DA will have a tough time with this one. There is a rule called Corpus Delecti. Admission w/o the body of the crime is problematic. It used to get the statement suppressed - now there is a jury instruction that tells the jury they cannot convict without the body of the crime and the admission. There is a strong argument for a not guilty verdict.
Beside trial the DA would think twice before pushing this to trial in the first place.
Make sure you ask for a DMV hearing too. That would be with the DMV and must be requested within 10 days of being arrested for DUI.
You have a excellent case and I would highly suggest fighting the charges because the consequences of a DWI conviction are very costly in terms of money and future employment or license privileges. Here's the thing the officer never saw you driving or operating a car, which is a requirement of DWI.
In NC, the officer would not be able to use that statement against you court but we have a specific NC case which does not allow the statement to be used against you.
In terms of the Miranda violations, there may not be a violation at all. The police only violate your Miranda rights when you are in custody or been arrested and the police begin interrogating you regarding a crime. In this case, the prosecutor will argue the officer was making voluntary contact with you and was simply investigating and not interrogating. However, the DA will have a very hard time proving you were in fact driving because no one saw you actually driving.
Fight this case no matter what, you can't afford not to...
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