Follow-up to previous post on “Burden of Proof in a DUI”
So I show up at the MJD and the cop says that he knew it was me because he saw me. He also said that all of my cousins told him I was the driver. He also said that he knew that I was serving a suspension for dui and that if I was driving suspended, I would go to jail for 90 days. Therefore, I should feel lucky. I got a date to hire a lawyer. My question now is, can the officer testify to what my cousins told him? At a preliminary hearing? At a trial?
In Pennsylvania, at a preliminary hearing, hearsay is admissible if there is any indication that the declarant will be available for trial. What does that mean? OK. Hearsay is an out of court statement asserted for the truth of the matter in court, by someone who is not the person who made the original statement. Therefore if the officer can show that your cousins will appear at trial to testify against you, then the statements are admissible at the preliminary hearing level. Also, if this is a very very small district justice, he or she may just let the statement in simply because they don’t know the law.
At trial, it is not admissible, because it is hearsay.