The Court Errored in Admitting Prior DUI Evidence

Mar 06, 2023

On appeal the Court found that the Trial court abused its discretion by admitting evidence that the defendant committed a DUI five years earlier. Stating that even if defendant’s two DUI offenses were strikingly similar, evidence of prior DUI was not relevant to prove a material fact in issue in present DUI prosecution. And that the evidence was not admissible to prove absence of mistake or accident or to rebut defense theory. The defendant’s testimony did not open door to presentation of evidence of prior DUI. Therefore it was error by the trial court in admitting evidence and the error was not harmless, especially given state’s reliance on evidence in closing argument and potential for use of evidence to establish that the defendant had a propensity to commit DUI offenses. The appeals court ordered a New trial.

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