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Could admissions of drunk driving be used against a driver?

Most people in Louisiana who drink alcohol are often no longer in control of their faculties. This often includes making statements while their judgment is impaired that they may otherwise not have made. The question becomes whether making admissions of drunk driving to non-law enforcement personnel would be admissible in court.

This could be an issue that a 19-year-old woman's criminal defense counsel raises as part of her defense. She was involved in a serious accident on Dec. 1, 2016. Police say that she was driving recklessly and ran a red light. Her vehicle then slammed into a vehicle already in the intersection. Both drivers suffered serious injuries.

Police reports indicate that officers observed that the woman was slurring her words. Supposedly, her eyes were bloodshot, and she exhibited other signs of impairment. The woman allegedly told medical personnel at the hospital that she was drunk at the time of the crash, which could raise the issue of doctor-patient privilege with regard to the admissibility of those statements in court. A warrant was recently issued for her arrest after she spent a significant time hospitalized for her injuries. Reports do not indicate whether she was ever under arrest and read her rights in the immediate aftermath of the accident.

As would be the case for any Louisiana resident similarly charged, this woman is likely focused -- alongside her criminal defense attorney -- on protecting her legal rights since it appears that officials intend to charge her with drunk driving and possibly other crimes. More than likely, her actions and statements in the first hours and days following the accident will require scrutiny since they may impact her defense. Once all of the facts are reviewed, she and her counsel can discuss the options available to her that may provide the best possible outcome to her situation.

Source:, "Police:19-year-old charged with DWI after crash near LSU", Kevin Dupuy, April 28, 2017

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