How Expert Witnesses Are Used in DUI/DWI Cases
If you are facing a DUI, chances are that you are willing to do any and everything in your power to prevent a conviction from happening. A conviction for driving under the influence can result in high costs and fines, costly attorney fees, the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges or even worse—jail time. It never pays to drink and drive, but there is such a thing as a wrongful arrest. In such a case, experts may be consulted to testify on your behalf and refute evidence in a few different areas.
The Field Sobriety Test
The field sobriety test, or the portion of the traffic-stop in which the officer asks the defendant to walk in a straight line, stand on one leg, touch their toes, count backward from 100 and other similar tasks, is not necessarily the most reliable method of testing for intoxication. Often, it is possible for a person to fail these tests and still be sober. Considering that these stunts are a measure of coordination, someone who was never coordinated in the first place may have a bit of trouble with them.
Expert witness can be hired to evaluate whether the police officer administering the field sobriety tests did so in an appropriate manner. Also, the expert can determine if the police officer scored the tests properly in order to come to appropriate conclusions concerning sobriety. Finally, experts, such as orthopedic doctors, can be consulted to determine if the client has physical limitations that would prevent the person from adequately performing a balance test, even in the most hospitable conditions.
An expert witness may also be called in to testify in some cases about the alcohol level of the defendant at the time they were driving as opposed to the time they were tested or blood was taken. In most cases, the blood alcohol level usually becomes lower over time, so a test can help to determine whether or not a person was impaired at the time of driving. This however is not always the case. Blood alcohol content can certainly have been rising between the time of driving and testing (or blood extraction), but expert witness testimony may be needed to prove this. This is very technical area of expertise. An expert witness may not be able to completely refute the blood alcohol level, but he may be able to effectively raise a reasonable doubt as to whether or not the defendant is actually.
Reconstructing the Scene of an Accident
When accidents are involved in DUI cases, the charges and penalties tend to be more serious. Such cases are more difficult to defend and the stakes are often higher than in traditional DUI cases—especially if someone was injured or even killed in the accident. In these instances, it is essential to hire an expert witness to evaluate the cause of the accident, the opinions of a state’s expert and to testify in your case. An expert witness with the proper credentials may be able to help reconstruct the scene of an accident and help explain why alcohol was or was not involved, as well as the role of the other driver.