Had the defendant/appellant said nothing to the responding officer, his case might have gone differently.
In a recent case from Carbon County PA [Commonwealth v. Rubino, PICS Case No. 15-0303 (C.P. Carbon Feb. 17, 2015)], the Court opined that Appellant Rubino’s appeal should be denied because the margin of error for the BAC test administered to defendant nor the delay in administering it rendered it insufficient to support his conviction for DUI and the admission of his inculpatory statements did not violate the corpus delicti rule.
The officer involved in the case arrived at the scene of an accident in August 2003. The officer testified later in court that he detected the odor of alcohol on defendant’s breath and that defendant admitted to drinking and that he had been driving the car. If defendant indeed did those things as the officer said, defendant gave the officer all the evidence he needed for an arrest for DUI. As such, defendant was transported to the hospital where a blood test showed a BAC of 0.102%. Defendant was convicted at trial.
Defendant appealed arguing, in part, that the admission to owning and driving the car violated the corpus delicti rule. The corpus delicti rule is a rule of evidence that puts the burden on the commonwealth to establish by a preponderance of the evidence a crime having been committed before an accused’s inculpatory statements can be admitted. The commonwealth only had to show that someone operated a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, which it did by the officer’s observations. The court concluded that the corpus delicti for the charge of DUI had been established by a preponderance of the evidence, making appellant’s admissions to the officer admissible.