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April 2017 Archives

Hearsay - What Is It Really? | hearsay

Before I went to law school, I used to think that hearsay meant the same thing as rumors. You know when people say something like "don't listen that talk, that's just a bunch of hearsay." But, as I soon learned in school, hearsay is one of the more complicated and confusing (even to attorneys) issues in the world of litigation.

For anyone wanting to see the Iowa Rules on hearsay for themselves (or needing to cure their insomnia) they can find the Rules on hearsay here: but be warned, this is just scratching the surface. The case law on hearsay is long and varied. Keep in mind though that the purpose of this blog post is to try and explain hearsay for the everyday person, and not the practicing lawyer.

By definition, hearsay is any out of court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. The "statement" can be oral, written, or even non-verbal conduct (in some situations). So, three quick examples of hearsay would be: (oral) a witness testifies that he overheard the defendant talking about the drug deal he just made; (written) a contractor showing various purchase agreements and receipts; (non-verbal conduct) a child therapist testifies to her young client's interactions with a therapy doll. True enough, all three are hearsay, but all three may still be admissible under one of the 30-plus hearsay exceptions that Iowa recognizes (but I'll save that for another post).

"Offered to prove the matter asserted" is not as complicated as it sounds. It refers to the assertion being made in the alleged hearsay statement. So, if you want to show the effect that the statement had on the listener, and that effect is relevant to the case, than it may not be hearsay at all. For instance, if there is a slip and fall at a convenience and a witness overheard two employees talking a few minutes earlier about a coffee spill, that conversation may not be hearsay at all. It can be offered not to prove that there was coffee, but to prove that the employees were on notice that there was coffee.

OWI/DUI in Iowa - What Do You Do? | OWI/DUI

Posted on April 5, 2017 | Authored by Marshall W. Orsini, Attorney at Law

It is a situation that plays out hundreds of times every night across this country - you are out to dinner and have a couple of drinks. On your drive home, you see a police car behind you. The fear of an OWI/DUI immediately races across your mind. "How much did I drink?" "They were stretched out long enough, right?" "No way I'm over .08!" And before you know it, the police cruiser's lights are on, and you're pulled over.

You might not even have been driving erratically. The officer probably pulled you over for some other reason - a taillight is out or you rolled through that stop sign. The officer's not even thinking OWI/DUI as he first approaches your car. He enters into a casual conversation with you and appears friendly. You let your guard down, and before you know it, the signs of alcohol consumption start to betray you. You fumble through your glove compartment and drop your paperwork. Your speech begins to slur a little. And, of course, an officer's favorite in every OWI/DUI stop: the distinct smell of alcohol is pouring out of your car.

Before your stop even becomes an OWI/DUI case, there are certain things that you can do to put yourself in as good a position as possible in defending this. Operating While Intoxicated (some states refer to it as Driving Under the Influence) is a crime with serious financial consequences and a social stigma that can be difficult to imagine.

#1: Don't Drink and Drive. First and foremost, don't put yourself in the position to begin with. Calling a cab or Uber is the safest and cheapest route to go when compared to the costs of fighting an OWI/DUI. Between attorney fees, court costs, fines, and restitution, an OWI/DUI could likely cost you $5,000 to $10,000. My philosophy is that the least interaction a person can have with police officers in their life, the better off they are.

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