Florida, Confessions, DUI, and the Corpus Delicti Rule

Florida, Confessions, DUI, and the Corpus Delicti Rule
Florida, Confessions, DUI, & the Corpus Delicti Rule

What If A Driver Accused Of DUI In Florida Confesses To The Police?

Florida DUI cases are unusual when it comes to confessions. Specifically, admitting driving at the time of the crash is not enough. There must be more evidence. Sometimes. the evidence may be DNA. Periodically, hair samples may be the evidence. Occasionally, the evidence may be the position of the driver at the time of the crash. Police may arrive after the driver has moved from the vehicle. Florida appeals courts have ruled against allowing confession into evidence. They said the state needs to prove corpus delicti of DUI offense with serious bodily injury first. Then the state may introduce defendant’s confession into evidence.

What Is The Definition Of Corpus Delicti In Florida?

There is a Law Journal article “The Anatomy of Florida’s Corpus Delicti Doctrine.” Respected jurist Circuit Judge Tom Barber in Hillsborough County is the author. In it, the judge defines the term, “corpus delicti,” as “the body of a crime.” It requires that first the state proves that a crime has been committed. Then the state may bring a defendant’s extrajudicial (i.e., out of court) confession into evidence in a criminal trial.”

Fl Bar J Volume LXXIV, No. 9 at 80 (Oct 2000). 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?

There are specific items needed for conviction of DUI with serious bodily injury. First, there must be proof that defendant was driving the vehicle. Also, there must be proof of the defendant’s impairment at the time of crash. Furthermore, there must be evidence independent of the confession that defendant was actually behind wheel at time of crash.

Reported at 30 Florida Law Weekly D2379a

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