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Expert Witnesses in Montgomery County DUI Cases

Expert witness testimony has different weight in different kinds of cases. The conclusions the witnesses draw are often given serious consideration. In certain cases, people find the expert witness to be not credible or one-sided in favor of the side paying for the expert. While their testimony could be completely discounted in certain cases, this varies on a case-by-case basis.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about the role of expert witnesses in Montgomery County DUI cases should speak with a knowledgeable defense attorney. A well-practiced DUI lawyer could help individuals seek out expert witnesses for the purpose of building their defense case.

Expert Witnesses the Prosecution Could Call Upon

Depending on the case, prosecutors may call different kinds of expert witnesses in DUI court. The most common expert is for field sobriety tests. Usually, the expert is a police officer who can testify to their qualifications to administer field sobriety tests. They may verify what the arresting officer observed and what the results mean with respect to an individual’s performance on the field sobriety tests, specifically the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test.

Maryland case law ruled that an officer may testify to the veracity of the HGN test if they are first established as an expert witness. The state could also call other expert witnesses in DUI cases. These individuals include experts who may testify about the results of Intoximeter tests for breath, blood tests, or urinalysis screenings. The experts have the experience and training to understand the results of the tests and may share their interpretation of the results.

Experts used in DUI cases with allegations of drug use during the course of a DUI are called drug recognition experts. Their responsibility is to identify the drugs a person might have been impaired by at the time they were driving a vehicle. A drug recognition expert evaluates an individual through a series of motor skills tests and other evaluations they are specifically trained to administer.

Prosecutors must give the defense attorney notice of the experts they plan to call. They are required to provide detailed information about the expert’s experience, education, training, and why their knowledge is considered proficient by the scientific community. Experts are often used by prosecutors as part of their criminal prosecution strategy in certain DUI cases.

How a DUI Lawyer Could Refute or Challenge the Government Expert’s Claims

A Montgomery County attorney could challenge the expertise that the witness offers in DUI cases by saying it is generally not accepted by the scientific community or flawed in some other way. The defense could also refute expert testimony by offering their own expert witness who may be able to specifically challenge the conclusions of the government’s witness. They might present their own conclusions about the evidence being presented to show it is contradictory to information originally testified to by the government’s expert witness.

Role of the Defense’s Expert Witness

A Montgomery County expert witness’ role in the defense case of a DUI is to reveal flaws in the prosecution’s theory. They may show why the conclusion that prosecutors, police officers, or experts arrived at are faulty or are a misrepresentation of a fact or conclusion. Experts could also be called to testify about interpreting other evidence the defense wants to present and what that might mean for the failure of the prosecution’s case.

Potential Witnesses the Defense Might Call Upon

A defense attorney may call on the same kinds of experts the prosecutor uses to draw conclusions that are different than the prosecutor’s suppositions. As an example, specialists who are able to testify about drug recognition may be called upon by the defense. Experts who could speak about the evaluation of breathalyzer tests, blood tests, urinalysis screenings, and other Intoximeter tests could also speak on behalf of the defense.

An attorney who knows reputable experts could use them for conclusions beneficial to the defendant. Established relationships with respected professionals may help the defense lawyer quickly consult with them to determine if they might assist in a particular case without too much expense to the accused.

How Experts Witnesses Impact a Trial

The expert’s proficiency must first be established at trial. Typically, a hearing is conducted to determine whether the person is qualified to be an expert witness. The party seeking to introduce the individual as an expert presents the basis for their expertise and conclusions. Subsequently, the other party has an opportunity to cross-examine the individual on their knowledge. They might call another expert to challenge the person’s competency. Arguments are made to the court about whether an individual has the required level of proficiency in the field in which they are being called to testify.

Once someone is qualified as an expert, their responsibility also consists of making a presentation about a conclusion pertaining to the case. They develop their conclusion based on their experience, field of study, and evaluation of the particular set of circumstances. The expert witness then offers an opinion about what they believe is the conclusion. Since this is only an opinion, they are still subject to cross-examination. The parties argue to the finder-of-fact, whether it is a judge or a jury, about what they believe the expert’s testimony shows. An attorney may argue that the expert witness’ testimony proves nothing and should not be relied upon by the finder-of-fact.

Ask a Montgomery County DUI Attorney About Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses play a crucial part in a person’s DUI case. Since both the defense and the prosecution may rely on witnesses, defendants may benefit greatly from reaching out to an accomplished attorney for help. A seasoned lawyer could help a person find the right expert witnesses in Montgomery County DUI cases to defend them, and could use their experience to dispute any testimony that the prosecution may use.