A California Driver’s Statements to Police Ultimately Undermine His DMV Action Seeking the Reversal of His License Suspension

In certain circumstances, you have a constitutional right to remain silent and to refrain from saying anything (because anything you do say can and will be used against you in a court of law). Not enough people exercise that right to remain silent. They speak too freely and say too much, and their openness eventually comes back to haunt them. That was the situation for one man seeking to get his driving privileges back. He lost his case, in no small part, because of the statements he made to a police officer at the scene of an accident. Always know your rights and use them, including retaining skilled California DMV attorney to help you reverse your license suspension.

The man in the case, M.C., was involved in a traffic accident in Bakersfield. M.C. had been drinking prior to the crash. A Bakersfield officer approached M.C. and started asking him some questions.

If you are a driver who is in a situation like M.C.’s, there are several things that you know for sure. You know you’ve been in an accident. You know that the person in uniform who is asking you questions is a law enforcement officer whose job includes, among other things, investigating the scene of the accident for possible criminal activity. Additionally, you know that you have consumed some quantity of alcohol, thereby raising at least some degree of possibility that the police will investigate you for, and possible charge you with, driving under the influence.

Given those facts, it is possibly worthwhile to minimize what you say to the police, in order to avoid harming your legal position. M.C. admitted to the officer that he was one of the drivers involved in the accident and the only occupant of his vehicle. This might seem like a harmless admission, but as the case unfolded, that was not necessarily true.

M.C. also admitted to having drunk four 22-ounce beers and having drunk the last one less than 20 minutes before the crash. The officer did a preliminary alcohol-screening test and subsequently placed M.C. under arrest for driving under the influence.

M.C.’s admissions came back to cause him problems in his DMV hearing seeking the reinstatement of his driver’s license. M.C. argued that the DMV had no proof M.C. was actually driving that night. However, the DMV had proof that M.C. admitted to the officer that he was one of the drivers, was the only occupant of his vehicle, had drunk four beers and had consumed the fourth beer shortly before getting behind the wheel. The rules of evidence call these admissions “statements against interest,” which made their content admissible evidence. That meant that the admissions undermined M.C.’s argument that he wasn’t driving.

When it comes to taking on the DMV and getting your driving privileges reinstated, be sure to contact the skilled San Francisco DMV professionals at Uthman Law Office. Attorney David Uthman has over 20 years of experience as a litigation attorney and almost a decade of experience as a police officer. Put our knowledge of the law and the system to work for you. Call us today at (415) 556-9200 to schedule your FREE initial consultation to get the help you need.

More blog posts:

The California DMV Has Suspended My License. What Options Do I Have to Get Back on the Road?, San Francisco Criminal Lawyer Blog, June 27, 2018

The Risks You Take When You Handle Your DMV Driver’s License Suspension Case On Your Own Without a San Francisco Attorney, San Francisco Criminal Lawyer Blog, Feb. 16, 2018