When the police investigate you for drunk driving, they’re going to ask you some questions. You might wonder what consequences your admissions may have on the case. When you talk to the police, the things that you say may or may not be admissible during the hearing. Here are the consequences of admission statements made during a DUI:
Statements that you make before arrest
Generally, the statements that you make before an arrest are admissible in court. They’re called an admission by a party opponent. If you’re the person on trial, you’re the party opponent of the state attorney. That means that the things you say may come into evidence.
It’s up to the other party to enter your statements against you. You can’t enter your own out of court statements. Anyone who hears you make the statement can tell the jury what you said.
Why are your admissions admissible?
The rules for admitting evidence allow each party to admit the statements of the other side because the court assumes that the statements are reliable. The court assumes that you wouldn’t say something against your own interests unless it’s true. The law also gives you the chance to cross-examine the person who tells the court what you said. The people who make the rules of evidence believe the benefits of having the jury hear your statements outweigh the chance that the person may not accurately recount your statements.
What kinds of statements would the state want to enter?
The officer may have asked you whether you were drinking earlier that night. They may want to admit your answer in court. They might want to admit a statement that you told the officer that you don’t feel okay to drive. If you agree that you performed poorly on standardized field sobriety tests, they may want to admit those statements too.
The police report should contain statements that you make to law enforcement. You may also review the police dash camera or body camera to see if you can hear the conversation. When your trial date arrives, law enforcement may claim that you made an admission. If the officer didn’t note the admission in their notes, your attorney should be prepared to question the officer about why they didn’t take careful notes or whether their recollection of events is in doubt.
Statements that you make after arrest
After the police arrest you, the statements that you make may or may not be admissible in court. Whether the statements come in at trial depends on whether the arresting officer informs you of your Miranda rights at the time of your arrest. Your Miranda rights include your right to remain silent and your right to the assistance of a lawyer.
Law enforcement doesn’t need to read your Miranda rights the moment they pull you over. It isn’t until they arrest you that they have to read your Miranda rights. If law enforcement neglects to read your Miranda rights, the court may not allow the state to talk about what you said. If they read your rights, you may choose to continue to make statements. If you make statements after you hear your rights, the statements may be admissible at your trial. When you ask for an attorney and the police continue to question you, the court may grant your motion to suppress the statements that you make to the police.
Admissions of third parties may or may not be admissible in court. It’s harder for the state to admit the statements of a non-party than it is for them to admit a defendant’s statement. The law generally considers a third-party statement less reliable than the defendant’s own statement.
The general rule is that a statement made by a third-party outside of court is too unreliable to admit at trial. It’s generally categorized as hearsay. However, there are some important exceptions. The state may admit a third-party statement in order to question what the person says on the stand at trial. They may admit the statement if the court concludes that the statement is an excited utterance made under the stress of an unusual event.
What should I do if I made admissions?
If you make admissions to law enforcement, your DUI attorney can help you address how to best handle the case in light of your statements. They can help you explore whether the statements are damaging to your case. The statements may not be as damaging as you think. If the police didn’t inform you of your Miranda rights or if you requested an attorney, you may be able to file a court motion in advance of trial. Reviewing the admissions in your case is one step in preparing your case for trial.
Admissions alone can’t convict you. They are only one piece of the puzzle. It’s important to look at your entire case in order to determine the strength of the case against you and how to best build your defense.