Dismissed – DWI won for Corpus Delicti

Our client was charged with DWI after the Winston-Salem Police officer heard the crash, and drove over to the scene of the wreck 3 minutes later. When the officer arrived our client was out of the car with the hood open looking at the damage to the grill. There was another person at the scene who could have been driving, but our client said he was driving. There was no physical evidence that our client was driving, and the only circumstantial evidence (that our client owned the car, and was at the scene) led equally to the conclusion that he was a passenger. Our client was arrested and blew a .17 at the station.

Mr. Dummit of Dummit Fradin made a motion to dismiss at the close of the State’s case under the Corpus Delicti rule. Corpus Delicti is a Latin term which means “body of the crime.” The Corpus Delicti rule requires the state to have some evidence that a crime was committed beyond the bald confession of a person. In spite of the case law argued, the court did not dismiss the case at the close of the State’s evidence. Mr. Dummit then fought on. At the end of the trial he was found him not guilty, in spite of his confession, based upon a reasonable doubt that he was the driver. While the Court did not grant the Corpus Delicti motion to dismiss, the court did agree later that the Corpus Delicti rule prevented a conviction under these circumstances.

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