Expert witnesses in Mecklenburg County DUI cases are experts who are knowledgeable in a specific field. They use that knowledge to testify and validate arguments that the prosecution or the defense is making. An expert witness has to be deemed to be an expert by a judge in every hearing. The standard is whether or not the expert witness, through their expertise, is able to offer something beyond what a lay-witness would be able to express accurately or beyond what a layperson would understand without the witness’ expertise.
It is up to the judge or the jury to determine what weight to give an expert testimony at trial. However, judges and juries tend to be impressed by the qualifications of experts and tend to give expert witnesses substantial weight. Usually, they are well-credentialed and well-educated and have experience in their field, and that earns them significant credibility with judges and juries. If an individual has been charged with a DUI offense and they want to know more about expert witnesses could help their case, they should speak with a skilled DUI attorney who could help.
The role of an expert witness in the prosecution’s DUI case is often to testify about the impact that a substance at a certain concentration in the defendant’s blood would have on their ability to operate a vehicle or the level of impairment that they would experience due to the presence of that substance.
Expert witnesses for the prosecution include toxicologists and drug recognition experts. The latter category includes law enforcement officers who have undergone specific training on the recognition of symptoms and signs of drug abuse.
A DUI lawyer can challenge the basis for whether or not a witness is, in fact, an expert. A DUI lawyer could also do their own research into the applicable science that they expect the experts to testify about, and can be prepared to cross-examine the experts in regards to any uncertainty in the science or unreliability in any of the relevant studies that the expert might reference.
An expert witness for the defense can often be used in the same manner that the prosecution uses experts: to explain information that would not be immediately apparent to a layperson. The defense expert will often shed more light on the subject matter that the prosecution’s expert might introduce, and they might also raise issues that contradict the prosecution’s expert, thereby giving rise to reasonable doubt. The defense may rely on toxicologists. The defense might also rely on a number of different possible experts, depending on the specific issues.
At trial, expert witnesses in Mecklenburg County DUI cases will be called by either side and they will have to testify regarding their qualifications as an expert. The other side will have an opportunity to cross-examine on those qualifications, and the judge will make a determination about whether or not the witness is qualified to be an expert witness. From there, they will testify only to the issues regarding the science involved in the case.
Expert witnesses are not allowed to testify as to whether or not the defendant was, in fact, intoxicated or impaired. They only may testify as to how those substances in a similar person’s body might have affected the defendant. That is true for both the prosecution and the defense. When other issues are present for an expert witness, that testimony will depend on the specific area of the expert’s expertise.
DUI cases can be quite complicated and require expert testimony. Hiring a DUI lawyer who is familiar with reputable defense experts gives you an advantage because your attorney is experienced and familiar with issues that might come up in a DUI trial and may know the experts necessary in order to mount the best possible defense. An attorney with experience using expert witnesses in Mecklenburg County DUI cases could retain the services of an expert witness that could solidify your defense. Contact a lawyer to learn more.