Prior Driving History Not Evidence of Drunk Driving – State v. Lagalia (UNP)

In State v. Lagalia, the defendant attempted to introduce evidence that he had led a law abiding life as evidence in his DWI trial, apparently in an effort to have the judge draw an inference that he was not the type of person who would drive while intoxicated. To rebut this inference, the State moved his driving history into evidence, which supposedly contained evidence of prior bad driving. Defendant was convicted and appeal.

The Law Division disregarded the driving history evidence and found that the defendant had operated while under the influence of alcohol.

In an UNPUBLISHED decision released today, the Appellate Division affirmed the Law Division. The Panel ruled that the assertion by a defendant of a law abiding life does not necessarily open the door to the admissibility of a prior driving history to rebut whatever inference this evidence may raise. However, in the instant case, there was abundant evidence, apart from the driving history, to support the finding that the defendant operated while under the influence of alcohol.

Download a copy of the UNPUBLISHED decision in State v. Lagalia

Category: Muni-Mail Archive