"Collateral estoppel" is a legal doctrine related to issue preclusion. This means that the issue being raised by a party already has gone to trial or been settled in another court proceeding and there no reason exists to try it again in your court. In fact, one of the precepts of our legal system is that all parties are bound by that earlier decision.
DUI-DWI and "collateral estoppel," i.e. issue preclusion
An example of issue preclusion in a vehicular homicide trial could involve attempting to prosecute the death case against you after a judge has already acquitted you of the DUI-DWI charge. In such a case, because the DUI-DWI charge is an essential element of the vehicular homicide case, the defense attorney's challenge based upon collateral estoppel (issue preclusion) will be successful.
What is "res judicata"?
"Res judicata" is Latin for "the thing has been judged," and is claim preclusion. That is, between the State and you, a specific issue has already been decided in a court of law and there is no reason to debate this issue again your DUI-DWI trial.
Example of res judicata
For example, in Mississippi or Arkansas, if you start at a non-jury, inferior court level and had specific rulings made that were in your favor (for example, that your traffic stop was illegal because the officer made a "mistake of law" about the lack of an outside, rearview mirror being a mandatory piece of equipment for your truck, this may be a ruling that is "res judicata" if the State attempts to begin prosecution again in a higher (Circuit or Superior) court.
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