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Admissions During a Los Angeles DUI Stop

  • September 1, 2017

    When law enforcement conducts a drunk driving investigation, they typically ask the driver questions about their activities. However, you have a right to remain silent. You don’t have to answer the officer’s questions. You have to present the law enforcement officer with a copy of your driver’s license if they ask for it. However, you’re free to remain silent or tell the officer that your lawyer advises you not to answer questions.

    Law enforcement might ask you where you’re headed. They might ask you what you’ve had to drink or whether you’ve taken drugs. They might ask you questions about your driving or whether you realized your speed.

    If you answer these questions, you can expect law enforcement to try to use this evidence against you at your trial. In most cases, they’re able to use what you say against you in court. Typically, what a person says outside of court isn’t admissible to prove that what they said is true. However, there’s an exception for what a defendant said during a law enforcement investigation.

    This is called a party admission. What you say to the police is almost always admissible under this rule. This is the case even if law enforcement doesn’t read you your rights before you make the statement. This makes it extremely important to be very careful about what you say to law enforcement. In most cases, it’s best not to say anything at all.

    Statements from others

    There may be others involved in the incident that might make statements during the investigation. For example, there may be other people in your vehicle. They might make statements to the police during the investigation about your drinking. Typically, these statements are not admissible in court. These statements are hearsay.

    If law enforcement wants to ask these witnesses about your activities, behavior and statements, they have to call these witnesses to court on the day of your trial. They can ask the witnesses the same questions that they asked during the investigation, or they can ask different questions. If the witnesses change their story, the state can bring up the previous statements and accuse the witnesses of dishonesty. However, each witness must be there to testify, because you have a right to confront the witnesses against you.

    Impeaching law enforcement testimony

    Law enforcement might make statements during the investigation as well. They also make written statements when they prepare a police report. These are things that you should pay attention to as you prepare your defense.

    The officer that conducts the investigation in your case might not do a good job preparing the police report. It may not be complete, and it may not be accurate. When they arrive to testify at trial, they might confuse your case with the many other cases that they handle in any given period of time.

    They might tell the jury that you made statements that aren’t in the police report. If this happens, you can question the police on why they felt it wasn’t necessary to report this information. In addition, you can ask the officer to recount the field sobriety tests that they administered in your case. If they tell the story any differently than they wrote it in their police report, this can open to the door for you to question the officer about discrepancies. This can cast doubt in the eyes of the jury about law enforcement’s honesty or competence.

    Even if you don’t make any admissions, you may still find yourself facing DUI charges. Refusing to answer questions can make it harder for law enforcement to prove their case. However, the state might decide that they have enough proof to win their case even without your making any statements.

    The state might rely on the chemical testing evidence in your case. They might look at your field sobriety tests or evidence of poor driving. The officer can look for bloodshot or glassy eyes in order to argue that you were intoxicated. It’s important to look at the entire case against you in order to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s case. This can help you determine your likelihood of receiving a not guilty verdict at trial.

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