Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DUI Laws - Hawaiii Finds No Probable Cause for DUI Arrest

In Hawaii v. Sereno, 125 Hawai'i 246, 257 P.3d 1223 (Table), 2011 WL 2464753 (Hawai'i App.), the trial court granted a motion to suppress, finding no probable cause to arrest for DUI, after the officer testified that the defendant's car was struck by another vehicle, and then collided with and went into a house. The judge found that, without evidence that the defendant was at fault, the accident itself was of no consequence. The court found that the instances of evasiveness by the defendant were inconsequential as well. Finally, the court found the odor, eyes, and flushed face insufficient for an arrest. the trial court also refused to infer consciousness of guilt from the defendants refusal to perform field sobriety tests.

On appeal, the granting of the motion to suppress was affirmed:

"Although Officer Arnds did not “acknowledge that he did not observe [Sereno's] speech was slurred,” considering that the officer did not observe Sereno to have any problems with balance or fumbling of paperwork, that Sereno “produced all documentation as requested” and “responded to all questions[,]” where “all answers were appropriate and consistent[;]”that the district court, upon viewing the video of the accident scene found “that [Sereno] displayed no overt indicia of intoxication or impairment due to alcohol[;]”that “[t]he videographer testified that he could not smell alcohol from [Sereno] from a couple of feet distance[;]”and that Sereno had admitted to Officer Arnds that he had been drinking, the district court's conclusion that Sereno had nothing to hide “by turning away or maintaining distance” from the officer and declining to “infer a consciousness of guilt” therefrom is not wrong."
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