Sometimes, those suspected of a crime forget that they are entitled to specific rights. For example, if evidence collected against the suspect is skewed, the prosecution's case can be weakened. That was exactly the case in a national story. In recent news, the drunk driving case against Mark Ditka lost evidence when a judge determined that the breathalyzer test, which was administered by a police officer, could not be used in court.
According to sources, the judge dismissed the results of a test showing Ditka, the son of former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka, had a blood alcohol level of 0.16. In New York, this reading is twice the legal limit and suggests guilt for a DWI charge. Nevertheless, this exam may have been tainted by tobacco juice.
In an evidentiary tape that was shown in court, Ditka explains that he was chewing citrus flavored tobacco just prior to the administration of the test. While the prosecution can still introduce other evidence leading to the arrest, sources suggest that the tobacco may have interfered with the result.
If the breathalyzer test had been administered correctly, the results may have been different. Ultimately, however, the court found that the tobacco juice may have influenced the reading. Therefore, the prosecution may not use this evidence. Ditka may luck out in the end if no other evidence suggesting guilt is brought forward.
This story is a warning to all who have been charged with DWI: Just because you face a drunk driving accusation, this does not mean your case is over. Every suspect is entitled to specific rights and privileges, which a court must honor.
Source: Deerfield Patch, "Ditka DUI Evidence Tossed," May 11, 2012
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