I had a call today from a client we are defending who is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). This case is a little different than the usual DUI because the intoxicating substances charged include several commonly prescribed medications and an over-the-counter antihistamine (containing diphenhydramine). The State has laboratory reports showing these medications were present in the client’s blood, but present in what amount? In an amount that would produce intoxication?
I bet that they don’t have an expert to establish the amount of any of the medications found in our client’s bloodstream would cause intoxication, but we can’t simply wait to find out. We have already filed requests for discovery that should require the prosecutors to tell us the information we need, but our next step seems certain: Enter the expert.
In this case we will need a toxicologist or pharmacologist to testify about the levels of such drugs likely in my client’s blood stream at the time of his accident (did I mention he was involved in an accident). Without an expert to testify for the State or for the Defendant – there is no way for a jury to decide the question of whether the levels detected would have caused intoxication and affected driving.
Here are three reasons to hire an expert in your DUI case:
First – your lawyer cannot testify, and it is testimony that you need to win. Proof. While there is no requirement that a defendant ever prove anything at trial, don’t kid yourself. If you are on trial you need a defense. You need the best defense you can afford, so hire a great lawyer and be ready to hire a great expert to make your case.
Second – an expert offers opinion evidence that most jurors take to be fact. Based on his or her special training, education and experience an expert can explain to jurors why the state is wrong and why you are not guilty. The judge will tell them that the testimony is an opinion, and it is, but that opinion is often the difference between winning and losing.
Third – just hiring and disclosing an expert witness to the State may be enough for them to offer you a way out, short of the DUI. Think of it this way – prosecutors have lots of cases and they don’t have the time nor resources to try even a tenth of those cases. At some point they just see a case, not a defendant. If the case goes away, their is another one to move up the ladder and "be resolved."
And that’s your advantage in hiring an attorney who will fight for you. We represent you. We will take the steps necessary to build a defense, and if that means we hire an expert witness than that is what we do.
If you are charged with a DUI, Inattentive Driving, Driving without privileges or some other criminal charge, call us at 208-342-4633 and let our years of experience work for you!