Making the decision regarding whether or not to testify at your trial is a challenge. Your Michigan DUI lawyer will advise you to carefully consider and weigh the many factors involved in the decision. You cannot be compelled to give testimony at your trial. However, if you do decide to testify, you automatically give the prosecution cross-examination rights; it therefore may be in your best interests not to testify.
On the flip side, jurors want to hear your testimony and sometimes draw adverse conclusions when a DUI defendant chooses not to take the stand. The jurors will have been instructed to presume innocence, which means that legally, they cannot infer anything from your decision to testify or not, but your Michigan DUI lawyer will tell you that this is something jurors find difficult to follow.
Why Jurors Need to Hear Your Testimony
Jurors want to hear a credible explanation from you regarding the many questions that arise during a trial. Why were intoxication symptoms claimed to have been observed by the arresting officer? Why does it appear that the blood test or breathalyzer results are over the legal limit? Sometimes, the defendant is the sole witness to everycircumstance and event that happened during, before and after the arrest. It thus often happens that the only witness available to the defense is the defendant.
Potential Legal Ramifications of Testifying
Some jurisdictions do not allow the defense counsel to make opening statements if counsel is not presenting any evidence. As previously mentioned, the defendant’s testimony is often counsel’s only evidence. Therefore, the case will be reduced to the officer’s word against the defendant’s, or the test results against the defendant’s word.
If you decide to testify, your Michigan DUI lawyer will inform you that an expert may be needed to clarify your statements concerning your consumption of alcohol. For instance, you may state that over a time period of three hours, you consumed 4 beers. Will the jury realize that the subsequent test result of .15 presents a contradiction in the evidence? Expert testimony is needed to explain that the consumption pattern you described would give a test number lower than the allowed limit. Without expert testimony, the jury may think that a .15 test result can be produced by 4 beers consumed over a period or three hours.
DUI cases can be difficult and complex. If you would like to consult a knowledgeable Michigan DUI lawyer regarding whether or not you should take the stand at your trial, please contact the Law Offices of Christopher Trainor & Associates at 800-961-8477.