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When a person faces a charge for driving under the influence, there are a number of things that might serve as evidence in the case. Certainly the results of a chemical test can be evidence. In addition, if there is any video or audio recording of the investigation, that’s evidence, too.
One of the most important pieces of evidence in any drunk driving investigation is witness testimony. Both the prosecutor and the defense team want to find witnesses testimony to corroborate their side of the case. Of course, you can expect the prosecution to call the investigating officer to talk about why they made an arrest for drunk driving. Witnesses have a large impact on the outcome of the investigation. In many cases, Los Angeles DUI lawyers know that witness testimony is critical to getting a favorable verdict at trial.
Witnesses in a drunk driving case are not only police officers. To the contrary, witnesses that aren’t in law enforcement can be critical to giving the jury observations about what happened on the day of the alleged drunk driving offense. They might have a different opinion than law enforcement as to whether the driver was under the influence of alcohol. They might have taken their own video, and that video might be crucial to showing that there are two sides to every story.
When the state calls the law enforcement officer that did the investigation, you can expect them to talk about their reasons for the traffic stop. They’re going to tell the jury about any field sobriety tests that you performed. They’ll talk about their methods for giving you a chemical test. Once the prosecution is done questioning the law enforcement officer, your DUI attorney has the opportunity to cross examine the officer.
In addition to cross examining the law enforcement officer, your DUI attorney can help you explore whether you might want to call an expert witness. Often times, expert witnesses are critical to helping the jury understand scientific information about the case. An expert witness can explain to the jury why the scientific evidence isn’t reliable. They can talk about how the investigating officer made mistakes while conducting field sobriety tests.
A law enforcement officer isn’t a scientist. Even though law enforcement officers typically have training, their training might be old, and they make mistakes. Your attorney can help you explore whether obtaining an expert witness can help you show the jury where the law enforcement officer made mistakes. They can also challenge the science behind a blood or breath test. In many cases, the time that passes between an arrest and a breath or blood test can raise a person’s alcohol level.
Law enforcement might not have waited the necessary observation period before giving you a chemical test. They might not have held the pen at the appropriate distance to give an HGN test. They might not have given you proper instructions to complete the walk and turn test. They may not have given you standardized field sobriety tests at all. Your expert can explain all of this to the jury.
Your attorney can challenge the vehicle stop in your case even before trial begins. They can file paperwork under California Penal Code Section 1538.5 PC. In that case, the officer might be a witness on the defensive to prove to the court that stopping your vehicle didn’t violate the constitution. If the judge agrees with you, they can prevent the prosecutor from putting certain evidence in at trial. This can mean you win your case.
If you’re facing a drunk driving charge, it’s important that you work with an experienced DUI attorney to evaluate your options. Your trial date might quickly approach, and you need to determine whether an expert witness is helpful to your case. In addition, you need to discover who the lay witnesses are in your case, conduct and investigation and interview of these witnesses, and prepare for trial. If law enforcement may have violated your constitutional rights, your attorney can file legal documents asking the court to throw out evidence. It’s important to go to work quickly with your attorney to aggressively defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law.