How to Win Your DUI Trial With Cross Examination

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The best way to win your trial for driving under the influence of alcohol is through cross examination. There is no surprise witness that is going to come in and tell the judge that you were not drinking that night or that you were not driving.

If you want to win your DUI trial then you need to make sure that your attorney knows how to cross examine a police officer when he is testifying in court. If your attorney knows the four important techniques needed to cross examine the police officer you will be on your way to a not guilty and walking out of the courtroom a free person.

What is Cross Examination?

Cross examination will play an essential factor in beating your DUI case in court. Therefore, is important to learn the definition.

Cross Examination is when your lawyer gets to ask the police officer questions about his investigation. Is the single most important part of the trial for your attorney to prevent you from getting convicted for the offense of DUI.

Being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol is a very stressful and serious matter. If you have been charged with a DUI, there are probably a few things that are running through your head right now like, ‘’Am I going to lose my job?’’ ‘’Will I lose my license?’’ ‘’Will I go to jail for this?’’ ‘’Is this going to be on my record?’’ If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol it is very important to make sure that you have an experienced trial attorney that is well versed with DUI law.

An experienced trial attorney will be able to quickly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and be able to determine the best possible strategies moving forward with the charges against you.

One important factor that you must consider in choosing the right attorney for your DUI case is whether the attorney knows how to adequately cross examine a police officer. There are four very important techniques that your attorney should know in order to effectively cross examine a police officer.

How Does a DUI Trial Works

Let’s go over on how a DUI trial works. At the start of a DUI trial, the prosecutor will have the opportunity to tell the judge or jury everything that he believes that the evidence at trial will show. This is known as an opening statement and this is the opportunity for the prosecutor to speak directly to the Judge and tell his story of what he believes happened.

DUI Trial in process - Cook County
Cook County DUI Trial in the process.

After the prosecutor speaks, your DUI attorney will be able to tell the Judge or Jury exactly what he believes the evidence will show and how the prosecutor will not be able to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. After both sides have had the opportunity to speak, the prosecutor must then begin presenting evidence against you. The prosecutor must put witnesses on the stand to testify in front of the Judge and the Jury in order to prove that you are guilty of the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol. Typically the main witness in your DUI trial will be the police officer that arrested you.

The prosecutor will call the police officer to the stand and the officer must swear to tell the truth and then the prosecutor will begin to ask the officer questions. After the prosecutor asks the officer all about the traffic stop, the police officer will usually give an opinion that you were under the influence of alcohol and unfit to drive a vehicle.

After all of this, it is now time for your attorney to begin his cross examination. A good defense attorney will ask the police officer questions to show the judge that this officer was wrong and that you were not drunk that night or that you should have never been pulled over by the police officer in the first place. There are several strategies on how to conduct a cross examination but a strong cross examination must consist of the following four things.

4 Strategies to Conduct an Efficient Cross Examination

1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Your DUI defense attorney must know all about the NHTSA manual. The NHTSA manual is what all police officers use to learn how to conduct a DUI investigation. The manual covers a wide range of clues that a police officer will use to testify against you at a trial in order to try and convince the judge that you are guilty of DUI.

A Skilled DUI defense attorney will understand and be very familiar with the NHTSA manual and will be able to cross examine the police officer on inconsistencies between his testimony and the NHTSA manual. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration manual has specific guidelines on how standardized field sobriety tests are supposed to be performed.

If your attorney is not familiar with the NHTSA manual and the guidelines on how to have an individual perform the standardized field sobriety tests then your attorney will never be able to cross examine the police officer for failing to follow the NHTSA manual. The police officers job is to tell the judge that based off the standardized field sobriety tests you performed, he believes that you were under the influence of alcohol and unfit to drive a vehicle.

A well versed DUI attorney will be able to show the judge that the officer did not properly administer the field sobriety tests properly and therefore they should be given less consideration.

2. Police Report and Video

Your DUI attorney must know and be familiar with the police reports and any videos. Police officers are always going to rely on their police incident reports and the body camera footage when they testify against you at trial.

Police DUI report
Representation of a DUI police report.

Police officers make hundreds of arrests and will not be able to remember the facts of all of those cases without looking back at their reports. A good DUI defense attorney will make sure that he is very familiar with the reports and all the videos before the trial begins.

Being familiar with reports and videos is very important because police officers are trained to put all relevant and important information in their police reports. If a police officer starts to testify to something that was not put in the police report, your attorney should know the police reports like the back of his hand so he can cross-examine the police officer on not following his training and leaving important details out of his reports.

Another important reason your attorney should know the police reports well is to make sure that the police officer does not over exaggerate facts. For example, let’s say a police officer put in a report that your vehicle was swerving when you were pulled over.

If the police officer does not specify how much you were swerving or what lanes you were swerving in and out of in his report, then it will be hard for that officer to now say at trial that your vehicle was swerving on the shoulder and swerving 3 to 4 feet out of your lane. A good DUI defense attorney will question the police officer on his lack of detail in his reports and make his testimony seem unbelievable and inconsistent.

The video is equally important to know, as a defense attorney you want to know exactly what is on the video because the judge is going to watch it. A good DUI defense attorney will be able to spot any inconsistencies between the officers testimony and what the video shows. If your attorney can show that the police officer doesn’t really remember what happened or he is not a credible witness that will be largely successful in your case.

3. What Laws Are Actually Applicable

A DUI defense attorney must know all the DUI laws very well to find the mistakes the cops or prosecutors make The prosecutor’s’ job is to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in your DUI trial. Sometimes police officers can make mistakes that a good DUI attorney can capitalize on to help win your case.

It is very important to know what the laws are in regards to the type of charges that the police officer wrote against you. Currently, there are seven different ways to charge a misdemeanor DUI and then there are several enhancements that can make your DUI case a felony case.

Knowing the law is very important because each of the different ways to charge a case requires different elements that the prosecutor must prove in order to find you guilty of DUI. If your DUI attorney does not know the law and the elements required in order for the prosecutor to win, he will not be able to effectively cross examine the police officer to try and show that the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to show the judge that you were driving drunk.

Knowing each and every element that the prosecutor needs to prove you guilty of DUI is very important and is a very useful tool when cross examining the police officer at trial. A good DUI attorney should always make sure to write down all the charges and what is exactly what the law requires to prove you guilty of those charges so that he can cross examine the police officer and show that the prosecutor cannot meet the required elements to prove you guilty.

4. Rules of Evidence

A good DUI attorney must know the rules on how to do a trial. The prosecutor’s job is to give the judge as much evidence as possible to prove you guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. A good DUI defense attorney will make sure that the prosecutor is not allowed to introduce evidence that the Judge is not allowed to consider. If your attorney does not object to evidence, the Judge will be able to hear the evidence and consider it when trying to find you guilty or not.

Knowing exactly what evidence is admissible and what evidence is not admissible is critical in doing a trial and cross examining a police officer. For example, if a police officer receives a call from another driver that you were swerving all over the road, that police officer should not be able to tell the Judge what that other driver said.

A good DUI defense attorney will know that the evidence the prosecutor is trying to show to the Judge is inadmissible hearsay and the Judge should not let the officer testify to that. If the Judge lets the officer testify to that on cross-examination a good DUI defense attorney will be able to then point out the inconsistencies of the officer not having first-hand knowledge of those events.

If your attorney is familiar with all four of these strategies for cross examination then you will be in good hands during your DUI trial. Make sure to ask your attorney if he is familiar with the National highway traffic safety administration, the rules of evidence, the applicable laws, and the police reports.

If your attorney doesn’t have a general understanding of these things then his cross examination of the police officer will not effectively show the Judge that the prosecutor cannot prove you guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and your license and freedom may be in jeopardy.

Remember that at all times, the prosecutor is required to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is your DUI defense attorneys job not to allow the prosecutor to do that by having a strong and effective cross examination by using the above-mentioned techniques.

Contact Our Skilled & Knowledgeable DUI Attorneys Today!

Understanding these four strategies on how to win a DUI has proven to be very successful for our clients. What makes Ktenas Law different is we have seen and used these strategies countless times to provide the best possible results for our clients. We have learned all about these strategies to prove to the judge that you are innocent. We can review your case absolutely for FREE – Contact us Today!

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