|Florida, Confessions, DUI, and the
Corpus Delicti Rule
What if a driver accused of DUI in Florida confesses to the Police?
Florida DUI cases are a bit unusual when it comes to confessions. Specifically, just because the driver admits he or she was driving at the time of the crash, there must be more evidence. Sometimes the evidence may be DNA, hair samples, the position of the driver at the time of the crash. Police may arrive after the driver has moved from the vehicle. One of many Florida appeals court have ruled it was error to allow state to introduce defendant’s confession into evidence before state had proven corpus delicti of offense of DUI with serious bodily injury.
What is the definition of Corpus Delicti in Florida?
A respected jurist Circuit Judge Tom Barber in Hillsborough County, Florida has written a Law Journal article entitled “The Anatomy of Florida’s Corpus Delicti Doctrine” Fl Bar J Volume LXXIV, No. 9 at 80 (Oct 2000). The judge defines the term: “Corpus delicti, which means “the body of a crime,” is a common law doctrine that requires the state to prove that a crime has been committed before allowing a defendant’s extrajudicial (i.e., out of court) confession to be admitted into evidence in a criminal trial.”
You can review judge Barber’s take on this subject here:
What is the law in Florida on Confessions, DUI, and the Corpus Delicti Rule?
In Florida DUI cases, there can be no conviction for DUI with serious bodily injury without proof that defendant was driving vehicle and was impaired at time of crash, and where is no evidence independent of the alleged driver’s confession that defendant was actually behind wheel of vehicle at time of crash.
Reported at 30 Fla. L. Weekly D2379a