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DUI Case Highlights from Paul Burglin San Francisco DUI Attorney - Salinas

Posted on in DUI

Some interesting cases relating to common California DUI defense issues have been published in the past few months. Some, such as the Salinas 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.

Salinas v. Texas

570 U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 928 (2013) – Docket No. 12-246

Berkemer v. McCarty , 468 U.S. 420 (1984) held that a motorist’s pre-arrest, pre-Miranda roadside statements are admissible at trial. Salinas v. Texas (Docket 12-246) just empowered prosecutors to introduce silence by DUI suspects in response to roadside questioning as evidence of guilt, unless the suspect expressly invokes the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

“Before petitioner could rely on the privilege against self­ incrimination, he was required to invoke it[,]" wrote Alito, J., (joined by Roberts and Kennedy, JJ.). Concurring with the plurality, Thomas, J. (joined by Scalia, J.) opined that the Court should permit silence to be used as evidence of guilt even if the Fifth Amendment is expressly invoked!

At oral argument, Ginsburg, J. asked, “What does silence mean other than “I fear self-incrimination?" Along with Sotomayor and Kagan, JJ., she joined the dissenting opinion of Breyer, J., who cited prior Court precedent holding that "no ritualistic formula is necessary in order to invoke the privilege." (quoting Quinn v. United States , 349 U. S. 155, 164 (1955)).

This is a terrible decision because it punishes the citizen for exercising the constitutional right to remain silent! If a motorist does not want silence to be used against him/her, then he/she should expressly state, “I invoke my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent."

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