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Tennessee Supreme Court dismisses DUI charges after video lost

Evidence in Tennessee DUI cases can have a significant impact on the outcome of the case and a recent Tennessee Supreme Court dismissal of a woman's DUI charges shows why. The Tennessee Supreme Court recently upheld the dismissal of a woman's DUI charges after the video recording of her arrest was lost.

The Supreme Court upheld the Court of Criminal Appeals dismissal of the case, saying that the lost evidence deprived the defendant a right to a fair trial. The Supreme Court said that the state had a duty to preserve any evidence that will be used against a defendant and because the evidence could help prove the woman's innocence, the DUI charges will be dismissed.

The DUI case stems back to 2012 when the woman was pulled over after police said she veered into another lane of traffic. The police officer conducted several field sobriety tests and the camera in the officer's vehicle recorded the field sobriety tests and subsequent arrest. The defendant had also told the officer that she had taken a Valium and hydrocodone that day.

During the defendant's preliminary hearing, the officer referred to the video. However, the defense lawyers were not able to review the video evidence because the state said the video was lost. Since the defense was not able to review the evidence, they filed a motion to dismiss the charges and said that the state did not preserve the video that could potentially prove the defendant's innocence.

The trial court granted the request for dismissal, and the Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with the ruling. After the Supreme Court reviewed the case, they upheld the original decision to dismiss the DUI charges against the woman, saying that the since the state lost the only evidence that allowed a review of the field sobriety tests and arrest, the charges would be dismissed because the other evidence in the case was inconclusive.

This case is an example of the ways individuals facing DUI charges can fight back against DUI charges in Nashville and throughout Tennessee. Individuals facing DUI charges should contact a DUI defense attorney to discuss their specific case.

 

Source: Chattanoogan, "Lee Davis: Supreme Court Upholds Trial Court's Dismissal of DUI Charges After Video Of Arrest Lost," Aug. 17, 2013

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