You were charged with an OUI after a car accident. Does that mean you can not win the case?
Yes, you can still beat the charge. An auto accident does not mean a case is impossible to win.
However, if you were in a car accident, it may make fighting an OUI case more difficult.
When there is an accident, a judge or jury may infer that the defendant’s driving was dangerous or impaired, or they wouldn’t have gotten in an accident in the first place. Also, if you hit somebody, or hit another car and there was some damage, there may be a natural human tendency for a judge or jury to think that because something bad happened, they may be more inclined to find someone guilty or feel the need to blame someone.
Explanations for Failed Tests or Erratic Behaivor
But all is not lost. If you just had an accident, as your attorney, I can suggest that that may be a perfectly good explanation as to why they did not do well on the field sobriety tests. You could have been hurt, or more often you are likely very shaken up after a traumatic event, especially in a bad accident, or if an air bag has gone off.
With all that adreneline pumping through you, you may be in no condition to do field sobriety tests. You are shaking and nervous. And the stress and shock of the accident may explain any unusual behavior observed by the officer or witnesses, that they may have mistaken for you being drunk or impaired.
A Recent Case I Won
I had a case recently where the incident started with my client taking a left turn in front of a car and getting in an accident with a pregnant woman. This testimony was certainly not the best way to start off a trial. Part of my defense was that reason he didn’t do perfectly on the field sobriety tests was because he was in an accident and he was shaken.
That client was found not guilty of a 4th offense OUI, so just because my client had an accident doesn’t automatically mean he was screwed.
As in any OUI case, we always point out all the things you did correctly, that are not consistant with being impaired. In that case the prosecutor tried to make a big deal about the fact that he didn’t pull over right away right after the accident, he pulled sort of 30 or 40 feet sort of off the road and into an apartment complex.
In every case that I fight, I like to point out everything that my client did that was right or that points to sobriety or showed good judgment. What I argued in that case was that pulling 30 or 40 feet away actually made perfect since because he pulled away completely away from the line of traffic in a place that he wasn’t obstructing anyone.
But drunk driving cases with accidents are always more complicated. Give me a call to discuss the specifics of your case, and I’ll go over the facts with you, and explain how I can help, and how likely it is that I think we can win the case.
Russell Matson is the founding attorney of The Law Offices of Russell J. Matson, PC a criminal defense law firm in Massachusetts. His web site is http://madrunkdrivingdefense.com.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)