The driver did get the dui and at the trial the prosecution wants to intoduce the statement of the stranger as evidence Is the statement admissable in a florida court ?
Family Law Attorney
It may be under a hearsay exception.
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If the stranger is present to testify @ trial and subject to cross examination.
It could be a hearsay exception but more facts would need to be known.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
It depends. If the stranger is referring specifically to observations he made about erratic driving at the time of the DUI, the statement is relevant. However, as one of my colleagues noted, he would need to be there to testify to his observations and be subject to cross examination. I would need to know more about the facts of the case to determine whether there is a hearsay exception that would allow the statement in without the witness testifying to it.
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Is the statement admissible? It should not be at trial. At a hearing about probable cause, it would be, at least here in Wisconsin. At trial, the stranger could be called to testify as to his/her observations.
Often people think that because it isn’t a murder case, a drunk driving case is simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases can be among the most complex a criminal defense lawyer handles. The government is willing to spend an incredible amount of money to convict you though. They will have expert witnesses available for consultation and trial.
That you have been charged or that some contraption says your alcohol level was at a certain level does not mean that you are guilty. It certainly does not mean that you can be proven guilty using competent, valid evidence.
Field sobriety “tests” are designed to give police a reason to arrest. You cannot “pass” them. The police will admit that almost a third of healthy young adults who take these tests without any alcohol will be judged to be “under the influence” – and that assumes they are properly administered!
After even a first drunk driving conviction, you may face employment discrimination. You will certainly be charged higher for insurance. Having such a conviction will also make you a target for drunk driving arrest in future interactions with police. You will automatically become a suspect.
You will want a lawyer who is familiar with field sobriety “tests,” perhaps one who is certified to administer these tests. You will want a lawyer familiar with the weaknesses of the contraptions that are used to report alcohol or drug levels. You want an experienced trial lawyer, used to cross-examining police officers. Police officers are practiced, experienced witnesses.
That is, you want an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, whether you call the offense DUI, OWI, DWI, OUI, or drugged driving.
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