Kayle Mendoza, “2 dunk 2 care”, Driver Opens Up to Media

Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins

Kayla Mendoza, the 21-year-old who is currently awaiting trial for a wrong way accident that killed two young women, spoke to the TV program Inside Edition about the accident that has gotten her national attention.  Mendoza, who is now notorious for tweeting “2 drunk 2 care” shortly before she drove her car the wrong way down an expressway while drunk, said during the interview that she hates herself for what happened and that she has no memory of the crash.  She also tried to explain some of her actions, especially the tweet that has gotten he so much negative attention.  She stated that the tweet was in response to a fight she was having with her boyfriend, not because she was stating that she was too drunk to care about the consequences of her driving after she had been drinking.

Mendoza was recently arrested for DUI manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and other crimes and has chosen an action that is highly unusual for a criminal defendant who is involved in high-profile case, telling her side of the story to the media.

The first words of the Miranda warning, known by just about everyone who watches crime dramas, is “you have the right to remain silent”.  There is very good reason for this, which is explained by the next part of the warning “anything you say can and will be used against you”.  This does not just apply to statements that are made to police, but to other statements that you make after your arrest as well, such as well-publicized statements to the media. 

Going to the media after an arrest gives the prosecution in your case recorded evidence against you of statements that have been made completely voluntarily.  If there is anything that you say in an interview that can be used against you or rebut an argument, it is just about guaranteed that this interview will be used.  Because of this, many attorneys would advise their client not to give an interview like Mendoza did on the eve of her trial.

There are, indeed, a few statements that Mendoza made that could prove to be problematic.  One is that she admits fault for the accident and her roll in taking two lives.  Another is that she does not remember what happened.  Both of these can be used against her to prove that she is acknowledging that she is at fault here and possibly that she is admitting she was black out drunk.

The best advice whenever you are in legal trouble is almost always to say nothing and let your attorney speak for you.  This is the case with the police and definitely the case with the media.