Once the jury has been selected (we will make sure that a favorable jury is chosen — this is very important), opening statements are made and the trial commences. Throughout the proceedings, an experienced DUI defense attorney will make appropriate objections at timely moments to raise doubt and weaken the prosecution’s case.
Since the burden of proof rests with the prosecution, the prosecutor is allowed to make an opening statement and call witnesses first. Typically, the prosecution will first call the arresting officer to testify. Once the prosecution is finished, the defense attorney is allowed to cross–examine the witness.
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Cross–examination requires extensive skill and experience. When cross–examining the arresting officer, it is often possible to successfully challenge:
- The manner in which the officer arrested the defendant
- The reason the arresting officer made the stop
- Whether the officer followed appropriate procedure regarding the defendant’s Miranda rights
- How the officer conducted the sobriety test
After the completion of the cross–examination, the prosecution will likely call up other witnesses, such as criminalists, or other experts who will testify against the defendant.
The cross–examination of these other experts is where our intimate knowledge of breathalyzer technology, chemical tests, and field sobriety testing methods becomes invaluable. When cross–examining these other witnesses, we can often challenge:
- The condition and accuracy of the breathalyzer or other equipment used to ascertain the defendant’s blood alcohol content level
- Blood alcohol content testing results
- How the officer came to the conclusion that the defendant was too impaired to drive
- Much more
Once the prosecutor has called up all its witnesses and declares that the prosecution has rested, it is the defense’s turn to call witnesses and experts, such as its own chemists, field sobriety testing experts, civilians who witnessed the stop, or any witness who can offer an opinion that the defendant may have been capable of driving, or that the his/her rights were violated in the arrest.
We will also prepare our witnesses for cross–examination by anticipating questions the prosecution will ask and helping the witness prepare an appropriate response.
The closing arguments follow, and once again, the prosecution is allowed to go first and last. In our closing arguments, we give a detailed summation of why the evidence raises reasonable doubt in a final attempt to sway the jurors. We will argue the fine points of the law and charges against you while instilling the appropriate amount of emotion so that it resonates with the jurors.
We will also stand by as the prosecution makes its final closing argument and interject with well–placed objections whenever necessary.
After considering all the evidence presented, the jury will deliberate and make a choice that can either free the defendant from worry or burden the defendant for years to come. With so much at stake, it is vital that those facing DUI charges seek the most effective defense they can find.