Court Reverses Conviction For Admission Of Prior DUI
In the matter of Hayward v. State of Florida, the 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed the conviction of the defendant who was convicted of a felony DUI.
In the course of the trial, the Defendant decided to testify in his own defense as to why he refused to take the breathalyzer test. The Defendant's testimony centered around rumors that the Defendant had heard regarding whether the machine could actually provide an accurate result. Consequently, the state argued that the defendant's comments permitted the state to impeach him by way of proof of a previous unrelated DUI conviction. Although the Defendant alleged that he refused to take the breath test because he had heard that a Mountain Dew could make someone blow a .01, the State's theory was that he did not want to take the breathalyzer test because he was previously convicted for DUI. The state's theory was based on the allegation that 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 Second District Court of Appeal reversed holding that the defendant's explanation didn't open the door to impeachment by means of prior DUI convictions as there was no permissible basis to admit any earlier criminal activity into evidence. The district court stated that the defendant's refusal to take a breath test was minimally relevant at best. On the other hand, informing the jury that the defendant had an earlier conviction for the very same criminal offense for which he was on trial was unfairly prejudicial. For that reason, 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
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