It's standard procedure for police to ask people questions when they pull them over for DUIs. If you were intoxicated when the arrest occurred, though, you may be wondering if it's legal for the police or prosecuting attorney to use your statements against you in court. It depends on the circumstances of arrest and the laws in your state. Here's what you need to know.
In most jurisdictions, statements made while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is still admissible in court. If you admit to consuming four beers while the cop is administering a breathalyzer test, for instance, that statement can still be used against you in court. The only time things you say while intoxicated could be thrown out of court is if the drugs or alcohol significantly impaired your thinking to the point where it interfered with your free will.
For instance, Ambien is a prescription drug that has been known to cause people to perform dangerous actions in their sleep, such as driving and even committing crimes. It could be argued that a person who was under the influence of this hypnotic drug wouldn't be operating under his or her conscious free will because of how the medication affects the brain. Therefore, anything the person said would be treated like an involuntary confession and thrown out of court.
Unfortunately, it's unlikely your testimony would be labeled involuntary if you only had a few glasses of wine. You would probably have to be stumble down drunk and clearly incapacitated to use this defense effectively. Be aware, though, this defense requires you to admit you were intoxicated, which could make it difficult for you to use a different strategy that may be more effective.
It should be noted that even if the court finds in your favor and throws out any statements you made while intoxicated, you could still be convicted of a DUI. As noted previously, making use of this defense essentially requires you to admit you were too incapacitated to drive, which can then be used to convict you.
Even without that, the prosecutor can still use eyewitness testimony and blood or breathalyzer tests to make its case against you. Therefore, the best use of this type of defense is if you accidentally confessed to a different crime while under the influence. If you told the police you committed a burglary a month beforehand, for instance, you may want your criminal defense attorney to use this strategy to prevent that confession from being admitted to court.
There are other, and more effective, ways to get a DUI charge thrown out. Contact a DUI defense lawyer for more information about them and help with your case.