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  • DWI case law

    Does anyone know anything about DWI case law? I was informed by a felony prosecutor that if you get to a one vehicle accident and the person admits that they're driving you do not have enough to hook them for DWI.

    At my old dept. we were in Harris Co (Houston). Harris Co. ADA's would absolutely not accept a DWI charge if you didn't have a wheel witness. Even if you saw them seatbelted in, behind the wheel and admitting to driving. Now where I work with my new dept./county, the DA's take it if the person admits to driving, but obviously there's a defense to prosecution (not including the alleged case law). I don't even mess with it if I don't have a witness to wheel them.

    My supervisor told me a trick to use. He said when you arrive on scene and just say, "I need to speak to the driver of this vehicle." Any statement is then used as a res gestae statement.

    So, does anyone know that case law about admission to driving?

    I know there's case law that says if the totality of the circumstances would believe a reasonable person to believe that someone has been driving you're good for an arrest. A co-worker showed me it one night when he arrested a guy for sleeping behind the wheel, with the truck in D but turned off. He was in his seatbelt still.

  • #2
    Here you can review these to see which better suits your needs:

    DUI Case Laws

    In CA you do not need a statement or admission from the driver; or, an eyewitness. I an accident is involved and you are investigating the incident, if all factors point to a specific person of interest....injuries consistent with a driver, keys in the person's pocket, no other passengers, vehicle registered to the person of interest, etc, hook'em and book'em. Mandatory blood test applies. Driver has no choice. If others are injured it is a FELONY!
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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    • #3
      The most common additional facts are that the person arrested is the R/O of the vehicle and was found in or near the vehicle. Inability or unwillingness to identify the driver is another factor if the suspect does not admit to driving.
      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

      Comment


      • #4
        Man, I thought Texas was better than that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by just joe View Post
          Man, I thought Texas was better than that.
          Well it's easy to get someone's blood here. A co-worker arrested a lady about three weeks ago for DWI that ran off into a ditch. Witnesses said they found her in the passenger seat and the "driver" said she was not driving. She said was a man was driving and he took off on foot once he "she" wrecked. She later admitted to driving and they did a DWI on her. I don't want to even waste my time on a case that's going to be east to acquit someone.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by SgtCHP View Post
            Here you can review these to see which better suits your needs:

            DUI Case Laws

            In CA you do not need a statement or admission from the driver; or, an eyewitness. I an accident is involved and you are investigating the incident, if all factors point to a specific person of interest....injuries consistent with a driver, keys in the person's pocket, no other passengers, vehicle registered to the person of interest, etc, hook'em and book'em. Mandatory blood test applies. Driver has no choice. If others are injured it is a FELONY!
            Thanks for the link

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by just joe View Post
              Man, I thought Texas was better than that.
              Coming from a different state into Texas I was surprised by a lot of the lack of enforcement laws and peddly BS like this.

              Comment


              • #8
                They always drop DUI charges down to reckless driving here. Complete BS. States attorney gets upset because their policy with driving while suspended is as long is the defendants license is valid by comming to court they drop the charge. So when I show up in court the states attorney will ask if their license is now valid. I tell them dont know and dont care, I will refuse to check. Its not what they did now but what happened on the date of incident.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is going to vary greatly from state to state, so you're not going to get a good answer here. My advice would be to take what your Prosecutor is telling you and accept it. Often it's not what the case law says that's important, it's whether your Prosecutor will charge it or not. Case law may say that an admission of driving is good enough, but if your Prosecutor doesn't think so, nothing you say is going to change their mind. Furthermore, if you go to them with case law to prove them wrong, you'll quickly find yourself in their dog house, and you won't really like that either.

                  They're lawyers, so what they do is NEVER going to make sense to us. Period.
                  Originally posted by K40
                  To me, open carry is the equivalent of the couple making out and groping each other at the food court in the mall. Yeah, they are probably legal, as long as they don't start getting undressed. But they are still social retards.
                  ‎"You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him." - Rooster Cogburn

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LawFowl View Post
                    Does anyone know anything about DWI case law? I was informed by a felony prosecutor that if you get to a one vehicle accident and the person admits that they're driving you do not have enough to hook them for DWI.

                    At my old dept. we were in Harris Co (Houston). Harris Co. ADA's would absolutely not accept a DWI charge if you didn't have a wheel witness. Even if you saw them seatbelted in, behind the wheel and admitting to driving. Now where I work with my new dept./county, the DA's take it if the person admits to driving, but obviously there's a defense to prosecution (not including the alleged case law). I don't even mess with it if I don't have a witness to wheel them.

                    My supervisor told me a trick to use. He said when you arrive on scene and just say, "I need to speak to the driver of this vehicle." Any statement is then used as a res gestae statement.

                    So, does anyone know that case law about admission to driving?

                    I know there's case law that says if the totality of the circumstances would believe a reasonable person to believe that someone has been driving you're good for an arrest. A co-worker showed me it one night when he arrested a guy for sleeping behind the wheel, with the truck in D but turned off. He was in his seatbelt still.
                    If that's flying, then you're going up against some really, REALLY bad defense attorneys!!
                    Originally posted by K40
                    To me, open carry is the equivalent of the couple making out and groping each other at the food court in the mall. Yeah, they are probably legal, as long as they don't start getting undressed. But they are still social retards.
                    ‎"You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him." - Rooster Cogburn

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've had cases fly where the only proof of driving is the admission from the driver. Prosecutors don't seem to like them, but not my problem if they have to work a little harder in court. I'll do my part and write a good report and try to get the best statement I can.

                      If nothing else and prosecutor dismisses it, I'll get the drunk's license at the admin hearing where officers more or less have to prosecute their own case.

                      DWI's are one of those things. The state really wants everyone to take them seriously, but 90% of prosecutors couldn't possibly care less about them. Case in point, at my part time department, the prosecutor got mad that officers were doing blood draws (allowed by MO caselaw and statue) on the basis they were costing the city too much. We pointed out that the prosecutor can legally add the cost of the blood draw on top of the drunk's fines. Prosecutor's response was "no more blood draws".
                      Last edited by Dingo990; 04-29-2011, 04:21 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dingo990 View Post
                        Case in point, at my part time department, the prosecutor got mad that officers were doing blood draws (allowed by MO caselaw and statue) on the basis they were costing the city too much. We pointed out that the prosecutor can legally add the cost of the blood draw on top of the drunk's fines. Prosecutor's response was "no more blood draws".
                        Go North young man..... Never, every heard that come out of the old PA's mouth. New PA is smacking people hard and hasn't said a thing like that either....

                        What a tool bag..... Is he one of the PA's that is a Judge and/or Defense Attorney elsewhere...?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SgtCHP View Post
                          Here you can review these to see which better suits your needs:


                          In CA you do not need a statement or admission from the driver; or, an eyewitness. I an accident is involved and you are investigating the incident, if all factors point to a specific person of interest....injuries consistent with a driver, keys in the person's pocket, no other passengers, vehicle registered to the person of interest, etc, hook'em and book'em. !

                          Pretty much the same in Iowa.................................
                          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We are having problems with collisions too not so much 1 person collision but 2+is an issue. Even if it is one person I articulate no foot prints in the snow etc (snow on the ground for 4-5 months).

                            I guess a judge in an adjoining county threw out DWIs where there was 2+ people even if all admitted who the driver was. They started asking us to get statements from the other passengers but really how good is that (I was after a case of beer when the had me sign that statement don't remember anything about the night).

                            They are just making it harder for us to do our job. It is those driver's that have been involved in an accident that need to be hit the hardest... If it isn't a slam dunk the DAs office are wimps...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post

                              What a tool bag..... Is he one of the PA's that is a Judge and/or Defense Attorney elsewhere...?
                              Nope, he's been a full time prosecutor for a larger city before, but I am absolutely convinced he's a stoner

                              Comment

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