Statements Suppressed Because of the Crash Report Privilege
In the United States, you have a right to remain silent if you are being investigated for a crime. But if you are involved in an accident, the police want to know what happened. How to harmonize these two interests? In Florida, we have a statute that creates a Crash Report Privilege. The Crash Report Privilege prevents anything you say to the police after an accident from being used against you until you have been given your Miranda rights.
In a case last week, our client was taken to the hospital after the crash, where police were treating him when a uniformed officer walked into the Emergency Room. The officer said "What's going on?" Our client followed up by making some damaging admissions that he had been drinking and driving. It was the position of the state that the Crash Investigation hadn't begun yet. But we successfully argued that by initiating a conversation with our client, the officer had begun his Crash Investigation. All of our client's statements were ruled inadmissible at trial.
Practice area(s): DUI / DWI