The defense in a criminal case may call upon expert witnesses to provide education and clarity regarding a criminal case. Courts prohibit witnesses from testifying based on their own opinions or analysis; however, they make exceptions for expert witnesses who testify on matters pertaining to their areas of expertise. In a DUI case, the science behind sobriety tests is questionable, and the evidence police officers gather at the time of an investigation may not be reliable. In these situations, a DUI defense lawyer may use an expert witness.
Any evidence collected by police officers in West Palm Beach for a DUI should be challenged. With an expert witness, the defense may be able to cast doubt on the evidence the prosecution presents against a DUI defendant. DUI expert witnesses may educate jurors on the unreliable nature of field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. Even chemical tests like blood tests may provide inaccurate information about the defendant’s level of intoxication that can unfairly hurt their case.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in the West Palm Beach area, find out whether it may be beneficial to hire an expert witness as part of your defense in the event that your case is not resolved and goes to trial.
When Does an Expert Witness Participate in a DUI Case?
An expert witness may participate in a DUI case during pretrial motions or at the jury trial. In almost all cases, they appear during the trial to provide professional insight into details of the case that jurors may not understand, or they may deepen jurors’ knowledge of complex issues. Their insight can help jurors feel more confident that they are making the right decision when determining a defendant’s fate. In many DUI trials, expert witnesses are the key to defendants avoiding the worst consequences possible for their charges.
Which Types of Professionals May Be Used as Expert Witnesses for DUI?
Expert witnesses have a broad array of backgrounds and can be found across all industries. Qualified witnesses for drunk driving cases generally have on-the-job experience and a work history from which they developed advanced knowledge that exceeds that of the average person regarding DUI matters.
Typically, expert witnesses for DUI may have specialized education and training in the fields of:
Experts may also be former law enforcement officers or police academy training experts. Forensic lab technicians may also be considered to provide testimony regarding the safety procedures followed at state crime labs when they process blood and urine samples.
5 Professionals Who May Be Expert Witnesses in a DUI Case
- Field sobriety test experts: A field sobriety test expert is a medical expert who can explain that the accused drunk driver’s poor results in a field sobriety test were due to a preexisting condition, like vertigo or an inner ear infection. The best of these experts have special training in “testing and measurement.”
- Former police academy training experts: People who have trained police officers can explain how they conduct field sobriety and breath tests, and shed light on how they might have failed to follow the proper procedures for administering these tests. These experts may be former or current law enforcement officers.
- Breath alcohol experts: People who are considered experts in the science behind breath alcohol test procedures may be electrical, mechanical, or computer software engineers with breath alcohol test instrument training or education in computer science. They can explain to jurors how and why breath test instruments malfunction. Doctors who specialize in the digestive system may also be used as expert witnesses to show how a condition like GERD can influence breath test results.
- Pharmacists or medical doctors: If there is a charge of DUI involving drugs, it may be necessary to hire an expert witness who has specialized pharmacological or medical knowledge. Most people take prescription medications, but if they’re arrested for DUI, they may not think they have a chance at succeeding at trial. A pharmacist or physician can show the jury that the defendant was taking medication according to the prescribed dose. They may challenge claims that the defendant was impaired by drugs when he was stopped under suspicion of DUI.
- Forensic lab technicians: People with experience working at a forensic lab can explain how strict they are when following procedures for processing blood and urine samples. Even small errors in the handling of samples can damage them, causing them to give unreliable evidence about a suspected drunk driver.
Comprehensive DUI Defense in West Palm Beach
After a DUI arrest, it might be unclear what steps you should take to mitigate the impact your arrest will have on your reputation and future. Having defended clients against DUI charges for more than 30 years, Attorney Brian Gabriel strongly advises that you contact a reputable DUI lawyer immediately.
Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has resolved hundreds of DUI cases in West Palm Beach throughout his career. He understands the justice system and science behind breathalyzer tests approved by the State of Florida. Call (561) 622-5575 for a free consultation or complete a contact form.