Expert Witnesses in DC DUI Cases

Expert witness in DC DUI cases can be useful as they can inform the fact-finder in the case because they have special training, education, or expertise in a particular area of study or area of information. A person does not need any specialized training to testify about seeing something occur. In other words, if a person sees a car collide with another car or sees someone walking who falls down, describing those events takes no special training or knowledge.

If someone gives their opinion based on their expertise as to the reason that a person may have stumbled or the specific characteristics of the direction of travel based on skid mark analysis after an accident, those could be relevant to the case. An expert witness is an individual who must have special knowledge or training and can inform the fact-finder about information relevant to the DUI case that was not gleaned from simple observation. To learn more about expert cases and how they could be relevant to your case, contact a skilled DUI attorney as soon as possible.

Expert Witnesses Qualification

When the prosecution uses the breathalyzer, the HGN test, or the field sobriety tests, they must demonstrate that the police officers are qualified as expert witnesses for those specific tests. When the prosecutors plan to use a breath test, a urine test, or a blood test, the prosecutor must call an expert witness in DC DUI cases to testify that the tests were properly set up and correctly analyzed and finalized to use the evidence against the person.

Refuting Claims of Government’s Experts

A DUI lawyer can examine the training, experience, and alleged expertise of each of the government’s proposed expert witnesses to determine whether they are qualified as an expert witness. The lawyer examines anything that can be used to challenge the witness’ qualifications and their experience and ascertains whether the proposed expert witness or their testimony was found to be unreliable or inaccurate in past cases.

Understanding an Expert’s Role During Trial

An expert witness is called by the party seeking to use their testimony. When a prosecutor in a DUI case wants to use the results of a urine test performed on the person, they must have somebody from the lab testify as an expert as to how the urine was obtained, tested, and analyzed. During the prosecutor’s case, they call the expert as one of their witnesses. Similarly, when the prosecution is done presenting its case, the defense lawyer presents their case through testimony, other evidence, and expert witnesses.

Relevance to a Witness’s Testimony

The fact-finder is legally allowed to decide how much weight to give to an expert’s testimony. The judge instructs the jury that they can consider the expert witness testimony as conclusive to a certain point because it is expert witness testimony. The jury is free to decide how much weight to give the expert witness testimony. A judge overseeing a bench trial can decide how much weight to give the expert testimony based on the substance of their testimony and perhaps the reputation and abilities of that particular expert witness.

Expert witness testimony can carry a lot of weight. The specific education and training of expert witness in DC DUI cases is discussed in court. Their credentials and testimony tend to elevate the opinion of the expert witness. Conversely, when a police officer takes the stand to talk about their observations and the reason they pulled the car over, their testimony generally does not include where they got their undergraduate degree or the number of hours of every type of training they have. If there is a deficiency to that, the defense can attack it. However, it is not relevant.

When an expert testifies, the first several minutes of their testimony focuses on where they got their degrees, what their degrees are in, awards they received, research papers they wrote, additional training, and how much additional study they performed. These things establish the fact that the witness’s expert testimony has the requisite amount of skill and/or knowledge. Their credentials elevate their opinion in the sense that their analytical skills are up as an expert opinion.

Benefit of Experienced Attorney

When using an expert witness in a DC DUI case, it is imperative that the expert is recognized and respected by the court. An experienced attorney knows which experts can be relied upon and are given the proper respect and consideration by the fact-finder, the courts, and juries in the District of Columbia. Anyone can hire someone who went to college to give an opinion. However, if they are not reputable, are not known in the industry, and are not respected, their testimony does no good. In fact, sometimes their testimony can do more harm than good. It can look like desperation when either side brings in an expert who is not respected or is not knowledgeable enough. It looks like one is grasping at straws when they cannot produce a known expert in their field to testify on their behalf.

Expert Witnesses in DC DUI Cases