When you need DUI lawyers in San Jose, you need attorneys who can maximize client testimony. Testimony is perhaps the single, most important part of securing a favorable verdict. Deciding who will testify, how the witness will respond to intense questioning, and more is all critical to helping your case.
For instance, we will evaluate your case and determine if and when it is a prudent idea for you to testify. The law does not require you take the stand. However, in some cases it might be beneficial. Jurors often want to hear some credible explanations from the defendant themselves. They often think if the defendant is not guilty, why wouldn’t they want to explain themselves?
They have a point. If applicable, it might be a wise decision for you to testify for a variety of reasons. You might be able to explain physical conditions that caused you to fail a field sobriety test. It also might be beneficial to explain that you were nervous and fumbling for answers, which may explain why the arresting officer thought you were intoxicated. Furthermore, the defendant, you, is often the only witness who can testify as to all the facts surrounding the case.
However, if you testify on your own behalf, the doors are open for the prosecution to also ask you questions too. They will try to trip you up, confuse you, and make you look guilty. This is their job, and they are often good at it. They may try to trap you by getting you to admit you are or are not familiar with the symptoms of intoxication. If they get you to admit you are not familiar with the symptoms, how can you testify you were not under the influence while driving? Prosecutors may also ask if you rehearsed your answers with you defense attorney. We will object, but if overruled, you should simply say, ‘Yes, we discussed what would occur today. I was advised to tell the truth. That is what I am doing.’ Our team of DUI lawyers in San Jose can walk you through these scenarios.
Yet, consider the implications if you do testify. If you only drank two beers but the breathalyzer indicated you were above the legal limit, we may be able to attack the validity of the breathalyzer machine. We could argue it malfunctioned, or the officer wasn’t trained to properly administer the test. If you refused to take a test, one of our DUI lawyers in San Jose will also help you explain why you refused. Some jurors may feel that nobody would refuse unless they were guilty. However, if you testify you could say that you thought everyone in America had a constitutional right to an attorney before any legal proceedings. Such a test, in your mind, was a legal proceeding. Another theory that may help you if you testify is your belief that the officer had no legal right to demand the test. You could say, ‘The government has no legal right to come into my house or my body. I believed the test was unconstitutional and therefore refused the test.’
If you are composed, well mannered, and speak well, you may also win over some members of the jury. Sometimes this is a gamble. Other times it’s the right move. One of our DUI lawyers in San Jose will advise you on whether or not you should ultimately testify. The decision requires a thorough cost-benefit analysis. If hired, we can discuss this process with you more in-depth.
Furthermore, you may also be able to testify that a physical injury prevented you from successfully completing a field sobriety test. You may also be able to testify that you have a medical condition such as diabetes or hypoglycemia, which may also have influenced the test results.
Necessity is also a defense. If you were forced to drive to either escape violence or because of a real emergency, it’s likely you won’t be prosecuted. Sometimes you are the only one that can explain this necessity to the jury.
It’s also important to realize that if you do testify, we will start off with some initial questions to warm you up. These questions may indicate the stress you were feeling the day of the arrest or any exposure to toxins that may skew the chemical tests. They may also be developed to help gain the jury’s sympathy, but humanizing you as not just a defendant but someone with a job, hobbies, interests, and more.
Our DUI lawyers in San Jose also have a few more words of advice. For starters, it’s ok to act nervous. If you are, tell the jury. Also, count to three before responding. This gives you a chance to think about the answer. But whatever answer you have, keep it simple. One or two word answers are fine. It’s easier to build an argument with short answers than to later take back things you didn’t mean to say. Also, be sure to make eye contact. Pick a juror, and hone in on that person. They may feel an emotional connection later and fight on your behalf. And finally, if you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know.
We may then try to argue the validity of the machine that took your blood alcohol level. If we can implement reasonable doubt, and you look good on the witness stand, it may boil down to a question of you versus them. Sometimes that’s a good start. Let our team of DUI lawyers in San Jose help you craft the best defense possible. That is why we are here. Take advantage of our help.