Your DUI trial will begin with the usually lengthy voir dire process where the lawyers select the jury members. Then will come the attorneys' opening statements on both the prosecution's side and on your side by your Chicago DUI Lawyer. The first witness called to the stand to testify after the opening statements will usually be the DUI officer.
The DUI officer's testimony is particularly important because it's the DUI officer who was able to observe you from the moment you were spotted and stopped through the moment of your DUI arrest and field sobriety testing. The DUI officer's testimony regarding direct observations of your speech, appearance, manner, driving behaviors, and any odor of alcohol is critical to the prosecution's attempt to convince the jury of your guilt.
During the prosecution's questioning of your DUI officer, the jury might start to believe that you are guilty of the charge against you just as the prosecutor intends. But a skillful cross-examination by an experienced Illinois DUI Defense Attorney could change the tide in your favor.
An experienced and skillful Illinois DUI Defense attorney knows how, where, and when to jump in with questions that might call into question the validity of the officer's testimony. For instance, if your Chicago DUI Lawyer has evidence of a mistake or misstatement by the DUI officer that he could use to impeach the officer's testimony, he should bring it up early in the questioning.
A skillful impeachment strategy that discredits aspects of the DUI officer's testimony up front could be effective in reducing the officer's credibility before the jury throughout the rest of your trial. If the officer shows embarrassment for his mistake, your Illinois DUI Defense lawyer could carefully draw attention to it. Your attorney might, for example, ask an officer who blushes over an error if there's perhaps another explanation for a flushed face than intoxication.
Your lawyer could also keep the DUI officer off balance by asking questions out of chronological order. It is easier for an officer to remember your DUI stop and his report on it if questions about them follow the same sequence as the events. If your DUI officer has prepared for your case, he will have probably tried to memorize the events of your stop and arrest in chronological order.
By asking him questions about the event in non-chronological order, your Illinois DUI Defense attorney could take the officer out of his comfort zone and ensure that he doesn't have easy, memorized answers ready. To avoid confusing the jury, your lawyer will still want to group related items together in his cross-examination. Your lawyer will, for instance, want to address the separate tasks of your Field Sobriety Test together.
If the results of your Field Sobriety Test were less than stellar (if you failed), your Chicago DUI Lawyer might also win some advantage for you by providing examples on cross-examination of how much worse your test results might have been. For instance, if you stumbled during a walk and turn test, your Illinois DUI Defense attorney might aggressively point out, "But my client did not fall? He did not actually fall down? He just made a simple misstep?" People make missteps every day. The jurors can relate to this. They might even have stumbled on stepping into the jury box on the day of your trial.
An accomplished Chicago DUI Lawyer will have thoroughly reviewed your DUI officer's report on your stop, arrest, and test results. Your lawyer should strive to know the information in that report better than the officer who wrote it. As a practical matter, police officers don't always have the time to carefully familiarize themselves with every case before they come to trial to testify. So your Illinois DUI Defense attorney's strategy of learning the DUI officer's report by heart and pointing out the officer's lack of knowledge could help win a not guilty verdict for you from the jury. A question or two from the report that the officer can't accurately answer on the witness stand could help your defense a great deal.
Your lawyer could also subtly plant the seeds of DUI officer bias in the jurors' minds. This is a tricky strategy that jurors won't always accept, so your attorney should assess the situation carefully and proceed cautiously. Your Chicago DUI Lawyer might, for example, ask whether the officer gets paid overtime for coming to court to testify. If the answer is yes, it might suggest to the jurors that the officer has a particular financial incentive to make DUI stops and arrests and testify about them in court.
An experienced Illinois DUI Defense lawyer like Michael P. Schmiege would know just how far to push the DUI officer on cross-examination to achieve his aims and a favorable result for you. Michael Schmiege could perceive when he's about to push the officer too far and then ease off. Or he could turn up the heat on a rookie officer whose unbridled enthusiasm is taking the edge away from his testimony. A clever and experienced DUI officer witness requires much more careful handling than a novice witness. Michael P. Schmiege could assess the situation accurately for you and know what to do.
Contact experienced Chicago DUI Lawyer Michael Schmiege for a free legal consultation and case evaluation regarding your DUI charge, legal options, and potential outcomes. He could provide you with the flexible strategy, skillful defense, and aggressive DUI officer cross-examination you need for a successful outcome to your case. Don't lose out on the benefits you could reap from an effective and aggressive cross-examination of your DUI officer. Call Michael P. Schmiege today to protect your rights in court.
NOT GUILTY – Possession of a Controlled Substance w/ Intent to Deliver
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol – NOT GUILTY
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