How Expert Witnesses Can Impact DUI Cases
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you may make the choice to hire an attorney to represent you in court. When you answer to your charges in court, your attorney may call a variety of expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. While this may seem like an expense you cannot afford, it may be one that you need to pay for. Here’s why.
What Is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness is a person who has training in a particular field or topic. In medical malpractice cases, for example, attorneys rely on the testimony of other medical professionals to help prove their case. In DUI trials, expert witnesses may be those qualified to testify as to the validity of a Breathalyzer test, or one that has knowledge of the topics discussed during a DUI case.
In a driving under an influence case, there are typically five types of experts that an attorney may rely on. These are:
Field Sobriety Experts
Someone trained in clinical psychology can testify to the lack of scientific reliability of field sobriety tests. They may also be able to explain that the defendant suffers from some type of medical condition that affected their ability to pass a roadside test. This can be helpful when a person “fails” a sobriety test in the eyes of law enforcement.
Police Training Experts
Former training officers can explain how an officer may have strayed from their training or botched the field sobriety tests. Many department utilize dash or body cams. An expert can walk a judge or jury through the video, pointing out errors made by the police officer on scene.
Chemical Test Experts
Scientists or ex-law enforcement officials trained in the use of BAC testing can be called to testify why Breathalyzer machines malfunction. They can also testify to the proper maintenance of these machines if it is found that the machine the defendant was tested on was not calibrated or serviced properly.
If a person is accused of being under the influence of prescription or illegal medication, a medical expert can testify to the effects of those drugs. This is especially true when the substance is a legally prescribed one. A medical professional can testify that the defendant was taking the medication as prescribed and that the dosage was within the therapeutic range.
When a case is based upon the results of a chemical test, a forensic expert can testify to a lab’s errors or negligence.
It is true that expert witnesses are not cheap. Your attorney will discuss the cost with you and the benefits of paying the money to hire the witness before they are asked to testify. If it is within your means, an expert witness could go a long way in your defense.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Atlanta, reach out to our team of experienced DUI attorneys for assistance. We will review the facts of your case and advise you of your options.