Should you use an expert in a DWI trial? Lawyer Benson Varghese discusses some considerations when making this determination.
In a DWI case, a lot of evidence is going to be presented to the jury that is very specialized. The standardized field sobriety tests are the first example of something that’s very standardized and very specialized. Another example is going to be either the breath test or the blood test, depending on what type of evidence is produced in front of the jury.
Other types of specialized evidence might be issues that go to causation of any accident, whether that’s the condition of the vehicle, how vehicles approached the intersection, things that might go to show who is responsible for the accident. Those are all specialized areas, so when you’re considering experts you’re talking about people who have a specialized knowledge in those areas. What’s important to remember in a criminal case is that the burden of proof is on the State. One of the things that you might be risking when you put an expert on is then it becomes a battle of the experts instead of always reminding the jury that the burden remains with the State. While experts may be available, you have to think carefully about why you want to put them on and if you can get those same arguments out by cross examining the State’s experts.
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