Let’s be honest. The general public’s typical idea of courtroom proceedings—regardless of the area of law—usually stems from a TV show, like Law & Order SVU. On television shows like that, you’ll often see an “expert witness” come to the stand to give their official opinion on whatever is taking place in the case.
Although many aspects of these crime tv shows aren’t exactly accurate, as a Los Angeles DUI law firm, we can tell you that expert witnesses are actually a real thing. Expert witnesses can be used by both the prosecutor’s side or the defendant’s side to further convince the judge and jury in their desired direction. The lingering question for many defendants is this: can an expert witness really help you or hurt you with your DUI case in California?
How Can an Expert Witness Help You In Your California DUI Case?
If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence, you must decide whether or not to fight the charge. If you decide to fight the charge, there are two very important steps to take: retain a DUI lawyer and to use an expert witness while fighting your case.
Many people may ask why? Little do many people know, using an expert witness is an overlooked, yet very valuable asset that can be used to win your case.
A well-versed DUI attorney will definitely know that. The lawyer, as well as the legal team supporting you, will be able to explain what an expert witness is and how they can be applied to your case specifically during a scheduled consultation.
What Does An Expert Witness Do?
The legal definition of an expert witness is a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present his/her expert opinion without having been a witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit or criminal case. This means that this person has extensive knowledge, education, training, and the hands-on experience and skills needed to be considered an expert in their field.
When applied to a DUI case in Los Angeles, examples of an expert witness may include a forensic toxicologist to discuss blood alcohol levels or a law enforcement officer to explain the standard procedure for pulling someone over. It all depends on the details of your case, where your case is lacking, and where your DUI defense attorney may need the support of an expert witness to strengthen your argument.
Expert witnesses work by testifying on your behalf in court, often times giving more information to the judge or jury that’s currently hearing your case.
What Types of Expert Witnesses Can Support Defendants in a DUI Case?
As mentioned above, it all depends on the details of your specific case and where your argument is lacking. The type of witness that you may need can also depend on their field of expertise so that they can give their specific option with regards to the facts on all fronts (medically, environmentally, and even scientifically). Remember, the goal is to strengthen your case while simultaneously weakening the prosecution’s case.
An Accident Reconstruction Expert Can Be An Expert Witness in a DUI Case
Far too many times DUI cases are also car accident cases. If your DUI case resulted in a car accident, an accident reconstruction expert may be the perfect expert witness to add a backbone to your case. These accident reconstruction experts are called to explain how the course of a typical car accident takes place, including the events that lead to the accident and the details included.
The accident reconstruction expert evaluates details like when the brakes were applied by skid marks on the road, the speed of the vehicles when the accident took place, collision details, and most importantly whether or not each driver’s reflexes were ever impaired. Not to mention, the intoxication levels will also definitely be considered during this expert witness’s testimony.
A Forensic Toxicologist Can Also Be An Expert Witness During a DUI Case Testimony
As mentioned earlier, the science of the case can be measured by an expert witness as well. A forensic toxicologist can give their opinion in regards to the clinical pharmacology of the case, or how the scientific facts of the case can be interpreted by someone skilled in the toxicology field.
A forensic toxicologist will discuss alcohol levels and how they affect the human body, referring to the details of your case. This can support a case if your blood alcohol level is relatively low, but you’re facing extensive DUI charges in Los Angeles.
They don’t just criticize the way that your alcohol level, they can also comment on the validity of the breathalyzer machines, misuse of the machinery, and other inaccurate methods of analyzing your blood alcohol level.
A Field Sobriety Test Expert Can Also Testify During a DUI Case
Believe it or not, there really is someone who can question the conditions of your field sobriety test. Too many times people assume that what took place during the arrest is “just what goes.” But that’s not entirely true!
A field sobriety test expert can evaluate the testing conditions, vouch for road or weather conditions that may have impaired the tests, speak on insufficient results, and question the administration of the tests altogether.
This type of expert witness often helps the defendant’s case. As a skilled DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, any attorney would recommend this type of expert witness to support your case. They can dive into issues upon the arrest date that could potentially drop the charges altogether.
A Law Enforcement Officer Can Be an Expert Witness in a DUI Case
This is one of the most popular expert witnesses used by both the defendant and the prosecutor. Because law enforcement officers have extensive knowledge about the different requirements that come with DUI investigations, they make the perfect experts to call upon to discuss the correct way of doing things.
Law enforcement officers have the insight to identify any errors that took place during the arrest, comment on the investigation itself, and other law related matters. Although this expert witness may seem like the “enemy,” law enforcement officers can actually help build a solid case against the prosecutor depending on the details of your case.
How Does an Expert Actually Testify?
Of course, there’s a procedure to everything—even the expert witness’s testimony. This rule is known as Rule 702, stating that all testimonies must be based on sufficient facts and data that can be reproduced through reliable methods by the expert.
Nothing is hearsay. Everything is based on statistical information. Only then, according to Rule 703, will it be applied as real evidence.
There are other details that apply to expert witnesses, like cost for example, that people need to know before moving forward with their case. By reaching out to a Los Angeles DUI defense law firm that is familiar with drunk driving cases and their typical procedures, you can get assistance with details like these. Feel free to contact us to move forward with discussing the facts of your DUI case and how our lawyers can help you build a solid, aggressive defense against the prosecution.