Lone Vehicle Occupant Was Driver

Deborah Elkins//December 4, 2015

Lone Vehicle Occupant Was Driver

Deborah Elkins//December 4, 2015

Although defendant insisted he was not driving the SUV when rescue squad staff found him alone upside down in the overturned vehicle with one leg wrapped around the steering wheel, the trial court was entitled to reject his credibility and the Court of Appeals affirms his convictions of DUI and driving as an habitual offender.

Defendant made multiple statements that support his conviction. First, while being questioned by an officer in the hospital, he angrily “blurted out” that the officer was harassing him because he flipped his Jeep, implicitly admitting that he was the driver. Defendant initially lied to the EMTs by giving a false name, and this lie is further evidence that supports the determination that defendant was driving the SUV.

The trial court also did not err in admitting his statement into evidence that he flipped his Jeep. Defendant was lying in an ambulance when the officer initially questioned him for two to three minutes regarding the accident. After the officer asked if defendant would take a preliminary breach test, he refused and stated that he did not want to talk anymore. The office respected defendant’s request to terminate the conversation. Defendant had not yet been formally placed under arrest nor physically detained in any way. The circumstances of this case indicate that defendant was not in custody at this time. Consequently, defendant’s termination of the conversation did not constitute an invocation of defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to counsel because a suspect cannot invoke his Miranda rights anticipatorily, in a context other than custodial interrogation. It was permissible for the officer to reinitiate the conversation with defendant after he was taken to the hospital.

Defendant again blurted out that he flipped his Jeep while the officer was later reading him is iiiMirandaiii rights. His statements was not in response to police interrogation, was voluntary and its admissibility was not barred by the Fifth Amendment.

Defendant had been arrested, but adversarial judicial proceedings had not begun. Admission of the statement did not violate defendant’s rights under the Sixth Amendment.

Convictions affirmed.

Wilson v. Commonwealth (Huff) No. 1853-14-3, Nov. 3, 2015; Campbell County CIr.Ct. (Cook) M. Kevin Bailey for appellant; Kathleen B. Martin, Sr. AAG, for appellee. VLW 015-7-281(UP), 11 pp.

VLW 015-7-281


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