Drive-In DUI Leads to Arrest in OKC

It is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt, or the old adage goes. This may be more true in speaking with police than in any other situation. If there is a recurring theme in this blog, it may be that you should never, ever, ever talk to anyone except your lawyer about your case. In Oklahoma City early Sunday morning, a man was arrested for DUI at a drive-in theater, and while the evidence was stacked pretty highly against him already, he chose to "open his mouth and remove all doubt." According to reports, Curtis Lorenzo Russell, 33, was attempting to leave the drive-in with his girlfriend, but along his way out, he hit multiple vehicles, apparently not noticing and continuing until he finally stopped after rear-ending a vehicle. Bystanders held Russell for police, and while the multiple accidents and the alleged odor of alcohol, slurry speech, and balance problems were enough to arrest the man for suspicion of DUI, what police say he said to his girlfriend while officers were investigating may have sealed the deal: "If I hit my gas, I should stop, right?" No sir, that's not how driving works. A passenger of one of the vehicles Russell allegedly hit was transported to a hospital with a neck injury, and Russell was arrested for DUI with injury accident. Russell also had an outstanding warrant for leaving the scene of an accident in Canadian County. He has prior convictions for possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, illegal possession of valium, and DUI. From all indications, police had enough evidence of probable cause to arrest Russell for DUI, but his words only add to the evidence against him. When a person is read his or her Miranda rights after an arrest, the arrestee is informed that whatever he or she says can and will be used against him or her in court. This is not an empty threat, and it is important that people understand that this right to silence applies not only after an arrest, but also before. Saying things like, "I only had two beers," will just give evidence for an arrest. It won't convince police that you haven't had too much to drink. Similarly, saying things like, "I thought she was 18," or "I know she's young, but we only fooled around a little--we didn't have sex," are enough for a second degree rape or lewd acts with minors arrest. Both of those offenses are felony sex crimes requiring lifetime sex offender registration. You may think you are clearing things up with police. You may feel like your statements are demonstrating your innocence or mitigating the offense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Keep your mouth shut and let police think you look guilty; don't open your mouth and remove all doubt.

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