It’s never a good idea to admit anything after being pulled over or stopped by a police officer in Colorado. It’s best to take advantage of your constitutional rights and remain silent when questioned. By admitting you were drunk, you didn’t help your case, but you may still avoid a DUI conviction. There’s no point in second-guessing yourself afterward. You just need to make the best of a bad situation by hiring an experienced Denver DUI attorney.
What Did You Say?
By stating that you’re drunk, the prosecution is in a position to argue you were too impaired to drive safely because your intoxication limits you physically and results in bad judgment. At the same time, despite your poor judgment and intoxication, the prosecution wants your statement to be taken as true. The prosecution has the burden of proof to show you were intoxicated or impaired under the law. Your statement may not be good evidence of it.
If you’re not an expert in the law or alcohol’s effect on the human body, you’re not qualified to give an opinion on the topic. Feeling intoxicated or impaired and being intoxicated or impaired, as defined by Colorado law, are different things.
What would be more damaging is describing the trouble you’re having while driving, like saying you had several drinks, were speeding, weaving in and out of lanes, falling asleep, or running stop signs. That’s not an opinion that you are drunk. You’re describing the effects of being drunk while driving.
Can Your Statement Be Suppressed and Not Allowed in Court?
People in custody, because they don’t remain silent, often say things they later regret. It’s not unusual for a criminal defense attorney to try to find reasons why a client’s words shouldn’t be used against them as evidence.
There are times when it may be appropriate to file a motion in court to try to suppress your admission. The prosecution would probably disagree, there would be a hearing at which both sides make their arguments to a judge, and the judge would decide the issue. If a judge rules in your favor, there’s less evidence against you. Depending on the case, despite the fact some evidence is excluded, there may still be enough evidence to convict you.
Evidence in a criminal trial must be “relevant” and “competent,” so it must be related to the charges and collected or handled legally. The exclusionary rule can prevent the prosecution from using evidence gathered illegally.
Your Fourth Amendment right against unlawful searches and seizures may have been violated. Another legal doctrine is the “fruit of the poisonous tree,” which means that if the police acted illegally and that results in evidence being developed, generally, that evidence can’t be used to prosecute you. If the prosecution can use it, the court would be encouraging the police to break the law.
For example, say you were pulled over by the police and they asked you for permission to search your vehicle and you declined. Then the officer searched your vehicle without cause and found empty vodka bottles. After being shown the bottles, you made the admission that you were drunk. If the search is determined to be illegal, there would be grounds to exclude the bottles and your statement as evidence.
Another possible reason to exclude your statement is that it was made while in custody and in response to questions or an interrogation before the officer informed you of your rights to legal representation and not to answer questions (commonly known as your Miranda rights). If this was the case and you were not read your rights, your statement may not be used against you.
What Other Evidence Supports the Prosecution?
Was your blood alcohol content (BAC) level properly tested? If so, do the results support a criminal charge? Were you involved in an accident? Are there witnesses stating you drank alcohol or used drugs before you drove or while driving? Did you drive erratically or dangerously? If the only thing supporting the charge is your statement, there may not be enough evidence to convict you.
Don’t Go It Alone
No matter what you did or said before your arrest, contact Kevin Churchill. He has helped clients like you in DUI cases for more than 24 years. If you represent yourself, you may make mistakes that will affect you for the rest of your life. If you’re charged with DUI, DUID, or DWAI in the Denver Metro area or anywhere in the Front Range, contact Denver DUI attorney Kevin Churchill at (303) 832-9000.