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Other's admission protects Abbeville man from drunk driving charge

To be found guilty of a crime in Louisiana, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual has committed a crime. This is an extremely difficult burden and requires considerable proof. Unfortunately for Louisianans who have had previous run-ins with the law, police and prosecutors may be quick to accuse based off of an individual's record, rather than on sufficient evidence.

It seems that is what happened to an Abbeville man who was arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The 48-year-old was arrested in a bush shortly after a pickup truck had driven onto an Abbeville golf course and smashed into a tree. When a sheriff's deputy arrived on the scene, he quickly arrested the man who was several feet from the truck.

Despite his instance that he was not driving the truck, he made it all the way to trial. While in court, a 38-year-old came forward and said that he had been driving the truck in the accident, destroying what little evidence the state may have collected. Even if the state could have proven that the 48-year-old had been driving and was legally intoxicated at the time, it could not have convicted him of driving under the influence of alcohol without first proving that he had been driving.

The 48-year-old has had some previous trouble with police, including being convicted for drunk driving. Despite his history and criminal record, he should not be tried and convicted because of a mistake he had made in the past. Rather, police should have collected sufficient evidence to convict him of the infraction for which he was being tried.

There are very specific rules about how to convict someone of a crime in Louisiana and these rules, many of which come from the Constitution, must be followed. When they are not, a suspect may be wrongfully arrested, tried or convicted of a crime he or she never committed.

Source: KATC 3, "Abbeville Man Found Not Guilty On 5th DWI Offense," Maddie Garrett, June 21, 2012

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Meet Attorney Guillory

Attorney Joshua S. Guillory was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. Upon graduating high school from Alexandria Senior High, he enrolled in classes at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. Josh was a member of Mu Kappa Tau, a national honor society for marketing majors, while attending... Read More

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