Roy Weddleton
  Concord, NH 03301

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Driving While Impaired (DWI) -- But Who Was Driving?

Always remember the cornerstone of American justice is that the State must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Keeping that in mind, a recent drunk driving case found a husband and wife outside their vehicle which was parked in the breakdown lane of the highway. A State Trooper properly stopped to check and see if they were all right. The husband was first seen at the front of the car and then staggering along the driver's side of the car. The wife was first seen on the passenger side of the car, off the side of the highway.

The Trooper never saw either the husband or the wife driving the vehicle. Eventually, he arrested the wife for driving while impaired (DWI), even though the husband indicated at one point he was driving. The wife admitted twice that she was the driver. But was that enough?

No, it is not enough. A confession or admission must be corroborated by another witness or some physical evidence. The State never called the husband to testify that the wife was driving. The Trooper failed to check whose keys were in the ignition or the seat alignment to see if it was set for a small or large individual.

The Court rightfully ruled that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the wife was the driver and returned a verdict of not guilty.

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