Witnesses and Tactics for a DUI Summary Suspension Hearing
People v JD
JD is involved in a car accident as a passenger. She remembers nothing and when she awakes at the hospital, she is given DUI citations and placed under arrest. She hires our office and insists that she was not driving. A male "friend" of hers was the driver but refuses to come into court to testify. She is a second offender so she has a three year suspension of her driving privileges and, if found guilty, her license will be revoked. This is a must win case. In looking through the discovery, it seems no one can identify her as the driver. The ambulance and fire personnel never see her in the driver's seat, nor does the Trooper who arrives on scene later. The problem is that she supposedly admits to all of these witnesses that she was driving. She has no recollection of anything at the scene. So, we have to try and get the driver to come in and testify that he was driving, not her. If nothing else, we need information from him about what was happening at the scene: who arrived first, where was the defendant, where was he, what statements were made, etc. It's still unclear whether he will cooperate. We could use a subpoena to get him in, but what if that aggravates him and then he won't give us the information we need?
In analyzing her petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension, how can we lay out our prima facie case? She remembers nothing. The witness won't come in. The trooper is most likely not going to give us what we need to call the arrest into question. So, what next?
We're continuing to try and work with the actual driver to have him testify. In the meantime, we are going to set the case for trial first. If we can get a judge to rule that the defendant was not the driver, we can win the statutory summary suspension based on case law.
It's not going to be easy but we will fight for our client because it's the right thing to do.