Know Thyself and The Location of Thy Witnesses
A good friend of mine had an auto accident while heading home late one evening. The good news is that she wasn’t hurt. The bad news was that the Highway Patrol thought she was DUI and arrested her.
She had the good sense to refuse to do Field Sobriety Exercises (Stupid Human Tricks) and also denied being impaired, taking the position that being in an accident where the car rolls over 3 times can have an unsettling effect on a person and make you a little unsteady on your feet.
It was a single-car accident, but a witness who was stopped on the shoulder of the road for his girlfriend passenger to toss her cookies, happened to see the whole thing and was the “wheel witness” for the State’s case.
If the police don’t pull you over while driving, but, instead respond to an accident where you are already out of the car, they need a witness to put you behind the wheel. That is one of the first things we look at in a case like that. And that is what I did. I called the wheel witness to see exactly what he saw and it was not good for us. He could put her behind the wheel.
But, when I spoke with him just days after the accident, I also found out that he was leaving the area shortly. He was moving to Alaska and might not be coming back ever, but the soonest he might be back would be in 4 months.
This is valuable information and having it up front was critical. In most cases I might take my time and “waive speedy trial” which would allow either party to continue the case for months, possibly. Knowing what I knew, I did not waive speedy and pressed the case onto a trial docket.
Come day of trial, no witness, no conviction. Thanks, “Quinn the Eskimo.”