Late last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in an Arizona DUI accident case discussing the defendant’s motion to suppress an identification made by witnesses to the accident. Ultimately, the court determined that the witnesses’ identification was not unduly suggestive, and even if it was, the defendant could not show that he was prejudiced as a result of the identification. Thus, the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, a car crashed into a tree right outside of a school. Two school employees were notified of the crash, and walked outside to see the defendant inside the car in the driver’s seat. The witnesses saw the defendant try to drive away, but when he couldn’t’ get his car to move, he exited the vehicle. The witnesses told the defendant to stay on the scene, but he walked away towards a nearby convenience store.
One of the witnesses left briefly to get his car keys. He located the defendant a short time later, and called 911. The witness told police that the driver of the car had on jeans and a dark T-shirt. Not long after the 911 call, an officer stopped the defendant because he matched the description. The officer noted that the defendant appeared to be intoxicated. As the officer was waiting for the witness to come to make an identification, the defendant admitted to being the driver. When the witness showed up, he identified the defendant as the driver, and the officer arrested the defendant. Another witness provided police with photographs and a video of the defendant leaving the scene of the accident.