Court Reverses Conviction for Admission of Prior DUI

Court Reverses Conviction For Admission Of Prior DUI

The 2nd District Courtof Appeal reversedholding that the ...More
The 2nd District Courtof Appeal reversedholding that thedefendant's commentsdidn't open the door toimpeachment by means ofpast DUI convictions asthere was no legal basisto admit any priorcriminal activity intoevidence. The districtcourt stated that thedefendant's refusal totake a breathalyzer testwas minimally relevant atbest. Conversely,informing the jury thedefendant had a priorconviction for the exactsame criminal offense forwhich he was on trial wasunfairly prejudicial. Less

Court Reverses Conviction for Admission of Prior DUI

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Overview:
The 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed holding the defendant's comments didn't open the door to impeachment by past 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. Conversely, informing the jury that the defendant had an earlier conviction for the exact same criminal offense for which he was on trial was unfairly prejudicial.
Description:

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

Posted on: 04:15 AM - 14 Sep 12

Court Reverses Conviction for Admission of Prior DUI
Court Reverses Conviction for Admission of Prior DUI page created by Michael Dye
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The 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed holding that the defendant's comments didn't open the door to impeachment by means of past DUI convictions as 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 a prior conviction for the exact same criminal offense for which he was on trial was unfairly prejudicial.
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