Evidence of Prior DUI Convictions in Trial
By: Michael Dye
Posted on : September 14, 2012  Views : 1468
In the case of Hayward vs. State of Florida, the Second District Court of Appeal reversed the conviction of the defendant who was convicted of a felony DUI. During the course of the trial, the Defendant decided to testify in his own defense as to why he refused to take the breath test. The Defendant\'s testimony centered around rumors that the Defendant had heard with regard to whether the machine could really give an correct result. In turn, the state argued that the defendant\'s remarks permitted the state to impeach him by means of evidence of a previous unrelated DUI conviction. While the Defendant alleged that he refused to take the breath test because he had heard that a Mountain Dew can make somebody blow a .01, the State\'s theory was that he didn\'t want to take the breath test because he had been previously convicted for DUI. The state\'s theory was based on the allegation the Defendant believed that the breathalyzer would provide an precise result based on his past experience. The judge agreed with the state and permitted the state to proceed with that line of questioning.The 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed holding that the defendant\'s comments didn\'t open the door to impeachment by prior DUI convictions and that there was no legal basis to admit any prior criminal activity into evidence. The district court stated that the defendant\'s refusal to take a breathalyzer test was minimally relevant at best. Conversely, informing the jury the defendant had an earlier conviction for the exact same criminal offense for which he was on trial was unfairly prejudicial. Accordingly, the district court found that the trial court abused its discretion by not excluding the evidence of the prior DUI conviction on the basis that the prejudicial effect of admitting the evidence outweighed its probative value.
Michael Dye is a Florida DUI attorney with offices located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information, please call (954)745-5848 or visit the firm website by clicking the following link: dui attorney