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Traffic Crash, DUI and the Accident Report Privilege

by | May 24, 2016 | DUI

A car accident leads to a traffic crash investigation which often time leads to criminal charges such as drunk driving or DUI. Floridians should be aware that the law requires them to cooperate with a traffic crash investigation. The intent behind the reporting requirement is to encourage true and uninhibited reporting of accidents, with the ultimate goal of making highways safer.

The safety goal must be balanced against the right to remain silent or the right to be free from self-incrimination. Therefore, there is what lawyers refer to as a savings clause that statements made during a crash investigation are to be considered without prejudice reporting person and the statements may not be used as evidence at trial in a prosecution for driving while impaired, DUI or in any trial, civil or criminal. Statements obtained from the driver pursuant to an automobile accident report requirement imposed by law cannot later be used later or any other criminal or civil case. This is how the firm defends against citations for careless driving when there are no witnesses or evidence other than that evidence protected by the accident report privilege.

The accident report privilege extends beyond statements at the scene of the accident. The privilege can protect statements made to an investigating officer at a hospital by the driver of an automobile. In order for law enforcement to use statements by the defendant for a criminal investigation the defendant’s Miranda warnings must be given. Statements made during a criminal investigation are inadmissible unless the person is advised that the criminal investigation has begun and the person has been informed of his or her constitutional rights.

Knowing the traffic law and the interplay with the evidence code and the constitution comes in handy in defending a DUI, traffic citations or any other criminal case stemming from a traffic crash. Lawyers could rebuild transmissions or perform brain surgery and you could handle your own case, it is just not the way to get the best results possible. Instead, you should at least talk to a lawyer about your case. Please click, call or fill out the form to hire a lawyer to help with the case.