When prosecutors present their case against an individual charged with a criminal offense, they will often call upon the service of expert witnesses to help bolster their case. Below, a Richmond DUI lawyer lays out some important things people need to know if they’ve been arrested or charged with a DUI. Call today to schedule a consultation with an experienced local Richmond to discuss your case.
The role of an expert witness in the prosecutions of DUI case is to testify about blood alcohol or breath alcohol test results. What they will do is testify as to the testing done on this evidence and how the evidence was handled.
Typically, the prosecution will call individuals who conducted the test on the blood sample for the Department of Forensic Science or the individual who maintained or used the Intoxilyzer machine which tests blood alcohol.
The way to challenge or refute the claims of these experts is to challenge the test results and to challenge their expertise. In other words, to challenge what certifications they have to prove their expertise. In addition, we would use our own experts to challenge the state’s results if the find issues with the testing.
The defense would call their own doctors or their own lab technicians who understand the kind of effects drugs or alcohol have on the body. In many cases, the experts are ex-employees of the Department of Forensic Science who now work privately and can conduct these independent tests.
It is important to have an attorney who understands these experts because they can be the key between a conviction and a reduction and/or dismissal. The most important piece of evidence in a DUI case for the state is your breath sample and/or your blood sample. If we have an expert that can dispute the state’s findings, this can be very important in the final outcome of the case.
The experts are actually given a lot of weight in these trials. A lot of the deference the court gives to their testimony is based on their area of expertise and their level of expertise. One of the first things an attorney will attempt to do is show their level of expertise and explain that to the court. If the attorney can show that they are an expert in the field, their testimonies carry a great amount of weight.
At the same time, a defense attorney trying to devalue to the testimony of expert witness testimony for the prosecution can call on their own expert witnesses, or use other types of evidence to show that the witness is unreliable. Although these witnesses and their words are very valuable in a court of law, there are ways to refute their testimony with the help of a dedicated and experienced attorney.
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