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DUI Case Highlights from Paul Burglin San Francisco DUI Attorney - Commonwealth v. Brown

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Some interesting cases relating to common California DUI defense issues have been published in the past few months. Some, such as the Commonwealth v. Brown case below, are binding legal precedents that California courts must follow in drunk driving cases. Out-of-state decisions from state appellate courts are not binding on California Courts, but they are often looked to as persuasive precedent by trial judges presiding over DUI motions to suppress evidence and trial.

This is why it is important to have a Board-Certified DUI defense attorney in your corner who keeps abreast of these decisions, as they may impact your case.

Commonwealth v. Brown (Mass. Appeals Court June 20, 2013 – Docket No. 12-P-614)

Defendant’s refusal to participate in (or complete) field sobriety testing may not be introduced by the State as evidence of guilt. Admission would place the accused in a Catch-22 situation - participate in the FST’s and furnish incriminating evidence, or refuse and produce “consciousness of guilt" evidence.

However, statements made in the course of such participation about the difficulty or inability of the FST’s are admissible because they are not compelled statements.

In light of Commonwealth v. Brown, drivers would be best protected by expressly invoking their Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights.

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