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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Default Drunk Driving Charges After Driving Into a Ditch

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: driving under influence of alcohol
    Hi, I am a surgeon based in Indiana and one of my friends who happens to be an international student on a F-1 visa drove his car from an apartment to another apartment in the same residential complex and in the process put his car in a ditch. He was taken to a hospital by cops who came after his co passengers called 911 for help.
    The car was towed later, it was a rental.
    The co passengers were absolutely fine physically and mentally but the driver was observed for four hours in the local hospital and discharged once found okay on all investigations.
    The discharge sheet says alcohol intoxication - meaning blood alcohol content above the legal limit (though not disclosed). He is fine and his friends are fine.

    I am curious - in this case when no one was harmed , there was minor damage to the curb which he is willing to pay for, he is ready to pay for the damage to the rented car, and his co passengers were unhurt, is there a legal problem he could land in? This thing happened yesterday and the cops after the on the scene statement have not called, visited.
    Should he talk to a lawyer?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: My Friend on an International Student Visa Drove Drunk and Landed in a Ditch

    He needs an attorney. And he needs to understand that he may be facing deportation.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
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    Sep 2010
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    18,998

    Default Re: My Friend on an International Student Visa Drove Drunk and Landed in a Ditch

    If he has been charged, he absolutely needs a lawyer. The DUI even on it's own is serious enough to merit it, with the immigration issue on top of it, he doubly needs it. Even if he wasn't charged on the scene, he likely still can be. Paying off the damage does NOT just make the criminal issues go away.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2006
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    15,270

    Default Re: My Friend on an International Student Visa Drove Drunk and Landed in a Ditch

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    If he has been charged, he absolutely needs a lawyer. The DUI even on it's own is serious enough to merit it, with the immigration issue on top of it, he doubly needs it. Even if he wasn't charged on the scene, he likely still can be. Paying off the damage does NOT just make the criminal issues go away.
    I agree, but if he wasn't charged at the scene I don't think he needs to retain an attorney unless he IS charged. It really doesn't sound like he was charged at the scene.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    3

    Default Re: My Friend on an International Student Visa Drove Drunk and Landed in a Ditch

    Hey guys really appreciate all your inputs.
    Yes flyingron and llworking , he was not charged on the scene. The cops did not even climb down to the spot where these guys and the car was, they sent down a ladder, these blokes climbed up and were taken to a hospital by EMTs. The cops took statement of the passengers (not the driver) and went. they did not visit the hospital when the driver was admitted/discharged and its been two days and have not contacted them at all.
    The rental and the apartment office people have been in touch and do not wish to press any charges, he is not resisting paying for damages.
    But the bottomline is he was drunk and driving and instead of putting the car in a ditch, could have hurt someone walking on the road or damaged someone's property.
    Now that no one has yet called from the local PD the concern is how long before they actually register a case and are they likely to register a case, wouldn't they have contacted by now? Its been two days now and no word.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: My Friend on an International Student Visa Drove Drunk and Landed in a Ditch

    The rental and apartment people don't decide if charges can be filed. They can make reports if there is come criminal damage, but it is the state that decides if he will be prosecuted. DUI has nothing to do with what the property damage was. The police know about, if they suspect he was drunk and were inclined to obtain the blood evidence, they can certainly file any time up to two years from the date the crime occurred. It could easily be a month or two before they get the results and proceed.

    As LL (and sorry if I implied otherwise) say, he needs an attorney if and when he gets charged. It might be that he dodged a big bullet. I'd have an attorney at least researched in case you need one.

    Did they draw blood in the hospital? If not, it's probably dicey absent any field tests or direct testimony as to his intoxicated state. The discharge papers from the hospital don't mean much. Absent some evidence in the form of the chemical tests or some detailed testimony by an expert (the cop through approved field testing, or the health care providers testimony), there's not any evidence here that can be used to support a conviction. Of course, a lawyer will challenge any subjective observations if it comes to that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: My Friend on an International Student Visa Drove Drunk and Landed in a Ditch

    When a hospital draws blood for medical purposes, not at the request of the police, issues can arise that the defense can potentially use to keep the result out of evidence or cast some doubt over its accuracy - for example, was the site of the blood draw swabbed with alcohol, was the test of whole blood or plasma, is there a chain of evidence issue that may cast doubt over whether it's the subject's blood, etc. If the police are present at the hospital, they may request that better protocols be followed or get a court order for a sample to be tested at the crime lab.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: My Friend on an International Student Visa Drove Drunk and Landed in a Ditch

    It honestly sounds to me like the police never suspected drunk driving at all...and therefore never took anything further than assisting with the accident.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: My Friend on an International Student Visa Drove Drunk and Landed in a Ditch

    Well the story changed between the first post and the second. The first said the police took him to the hospital, and in the second the police left and he appears to have found his own way to the hospital. Generally when the police accompany someone to the hospital they do what they need to to obtain a admissible blood sample.

    Since we don't have all the details, most likely because the original poster himself doesn't have them from the perpetrator, the general answer is to sit tight until the police (if ever) come knocking.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: My Friend on an International Student Visa Drove Drunk and Landed in a Ditch

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    Well the story changed between the first post and the second. The first said the police took him to the hospital, and in the second the police left and he appears to have found his own way to the hospital. Generally when the police accompany someone to the hospital they do what they need to to obtain a admissible blood sample.

    Since we don't have all the details, most likely because the original poster himself doesn't have them from the perpetrator, the general answer is to sit tight until the police (if ever) come knocking.
    I agree that the police usually do that. However, when the police do that with a drunk driver they also take them to jail after they get medical treatment and book them in on the charges. It doesn't sound like that is the way it went down.

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