I have a civil injury case against a drunk driver. Are my own past DUI's admissible?
What if you have been hurt by a drunk driver- but you yourself had a DUI at some time in your past? Can the at-fault DUI driver use that against you in the trial of your case? There is not an easy answer to this question, but, probably not.
Your own prior drug and alcohol use is probably inadmissible character evidence.In Georgia, the general character of the parties and especially their conduct in other transactions are irrelevant matters, unless the nature of the action involves such character and renders necessary or proper the investigation of such conduct. O.C.G.A. Sec. 24-2-2. In the case Taylor v. Racetrac Petroleum, Inc., 238 Ga.App. 761 (1999), the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that "such evidence is not probative of the issue at hand and may prejudice the jury against that party as to the question of liability in the particular case. One party is not permitted to influence the jury to find against the other party on account of some act which he may have committed on another occasion, in a different situation and with other parties. "
What if the at-fault driver was DUI, and also had past DUI's? Can I use those against the drunk driver?Past DUI's of an at fault driver who is being sued for causing your accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are probably admissible. In Lowenthal v. State, 265 Ga.App. 266 (2004), the Georgia Court of Appeals held that a defendant's prior DUI conviction was properly admitted as similar transaction evidence. The Court also wrote that "evidence of a prior DUI offense, regardless of the circumstances surrounding its commission, is logically connected with a pending DUI charge as it is relevant to establish that the defendant has the bent of mind to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when it is less safe for him to do so."