In Buffalo, What Happens If A DWI Defendant Was Outside The Vehicle But Admits To Driving?

Most Buffalo drinking and driving arrests involve a police officer observing some form of erratic driving and pulling the defendant over.

However, in some cases – for example, where the vehicle was involved in a one car accident and the police do not arrive at the scene until later – no one may have actually observed the defendant operating the vehicle.

While an admission to driving in this situation can certainly be damaging to the defendant’s case at trial, New York requires that there be additional evidence to support a conviction.

New York law specifically states that a person may not be convicted of any crime based solely upon evidence of a confession or admission made by him or her without additional proof that the offense charged has been committed.

This requirement has occasionally resulted in a DWI charge being dismissed where the only proof that the defendant was actually driving the vehicle is the defendant’s own admission.

It is important for a defendant in this situation to understand, however, that there is no hard rule regarding what additional evidence must be presented to establish that the defendant was, in fact, the driver.

The courts have generally found that the standard for this additional proof is not very high. Instead, there merely needs to be some independent evidence that would lend credence to the defendant’s admission.

As a result – depending on the specific circumstances of the case – simply being near a vehicle after it was involved in an accident, having a guilty appearance at the scene, or even proof that the defendant owned the vehicle may be found sufficient to support the driver’s admission.

Following a DWI accident, it is important to consult with an experienced lawyer who understands what must be proven to obtain a conviction.

We can be reached at 716-542-5444 for a legal consultation.

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