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Expert Witnesses in Bethesda DUI Cases

Expert witnesses in a prosecutor’s DUI case are required to give an opinion of some kind when there are problems in a government’s case that may not necessarily be explained based on an understanding or reading of the evidence. An experienced DUI attorney will be essential to gather expert witnesses in Bethesda DUI cases when necessary.

Role of an Expert

In a Bethesda DUI case, an expert may be called in by a prosecutor to testify as to a person’s performance on the standardized field sobriety test, such as a horizontal gaze nystagmus test. The prosecutor may be required to demonstrate through an expert that someone’s results on that test tend to indicate a particular level or percentage of impairment. The expert may be asked to testify about the reliability of that test in determining someone’s impairment.

With a DUI related to drugs, the prosecutor might bring in a drug recognition expert to testify based on their training and experience that the way the person reacted in a particular standardized field sobriety test or drug recognition test suggested they were under the influence of a particular kind of drug at the time they were caught driving a vehicle.

Challenging Claims

Whenever the government presents an expert in a DUI case in Bethesda, they are required under the rules to provide a defense with varying background information on that particular expert. That includes their education, résumé, employment history, and any publications they have written.

These kinds of expertise are usually required to be presented well in advance of their presentation with an opportunity to conduct a hearing. If there is a jury trial, it is outside of the presence of a jury. When there is a bench trial, it is separate from the trial but with the judge presiding to determine whether the expertise is valid and accepted by the scientific community.
If the state makes a presentation trying to admit an expert in, the defense may present an argument against the expert. A judge then determines whether the standards are satisfied for allowing that expert testimony to be brought in a trial to prosecute the case.

Who the Defense Would Call

The defense may call experts who can contradict the statements of the state’s expert witnesses. That is one of the most common tactics. The defense might call someone who has experience in the exact same horizontal gaze nystagmus test or a drug recognition test that a prosecutor is trying to present. The defense expert can present arguments about why the tests are unreliable, or that the state’s expert testimony should not be relied upon.

Testimonial Treatment in Court

The weight of the expert witnesses’ testimony depends on the kind of expert, what that expert can say in court, and how convincing their testimony is. Even if an expert is brought into court, after a hearing outside of the presence of a finder of fact determines whether the expert is admissible, the expert is still subject to cross-examination in the courtroom.
When the expert witness is subject to cross-examination in the courtroom, their testimony or theories could be debunked in front of the jury. The reliability of the testimony could be given minimal weight by the jury or the judge.

Working with a DUI Attorney

Usually, when expert witnesses in Bethesda DUI cases are admissible, they can be powerful pieces of evidence for someone to hear and learn from. These expert opinions can often be favorable to the party representing them. They usually can be used to answer questions in layman’s terms that a jury might have on a particular set of events.

Juries or judges, for example, may not understand all of the science behind particular DUI issues or field sobriety tests and might not understand some of the language being used. An expert can often put that language into more colloquial terms that will be easier to understand in order to make informed decisions.

Attorneys having a list of experts witnesses to call in Bethesda DUI cases who can effectively communicate in plain language the points being made about the evidence to the jury or the judge can be a powerful tool when trying to get a matter viewed in the direction of the defense.