Whether or Not to Testify When Charged with DUI

Posted on October 30, 2014

Walk-and-Turn Test

A San Francisco DUI attorney can assist a client in deciding whether or not testifying is a good idea in a trial.

Understanding Whether or Not to Testify in a DUI Trial

One of the most important decisions that will be made in a DUI trial is whether or not to testify. There are numerous factors that will go into the determination. You do not have to testify. If you choose to do so, the prosecutor will be able to conduct a cross-examination. This can make it risky to testify.

However, the jury will generally like to hear from the defendant in the case. The entire trial will begin with a presumption of innocence whether the defendant testifies or not. In reality, jurors frequently do let the defendant declining to testify influence their thought process.

Jurors Will Want to Hear the Defendant’s Story

The jury will want to hear a viable explanation on various issues surrounding the arrest. They will want to know why the law enforcement officer believes that the defendant was considered to be intoxicated. For what reason did the breathalyzer or blood test show the driver surpassed the legal limit? The defendant is usually the only one who can provide testimony explaining these issues and give a timeline of what happened. Frequently, the defense won’t have any witnesses to support the defendant’s story except the defendant.

Legal Issues That Could Arise from Testifying

There are jurisdictions in which the defense attorney can’t give an opening statement if there won’t be any evidence presented to bolster it. In a DUI defense, the only defense evidence might be the defendant’s testimony. There is also technical testimony that only an expert can give to help the jury understand the various intricacies of a DUI charge and a defendant can’t provide that.

Contact an Experienced San Francisco DUI Lawyer

If you have questions about whether or not you should testify in a DUI case, call Silveira Law, a San Francisco DUI attorney, at (415) 795-3890 today.