Criminal Defense in Orange County

When You Should Testify at Your DUI Trial

If you're going to trial on a DUI charge, it's important to understand what you can do to strengthen your case. It may be advisable for you to take the stand if your case is backed up by substantial evidence. Your Orange County DUI attorney may decide that being able to introduce evidence such as receipts for your alcohol purchases can make up for any slips you make during your testimony.

If the establishment has a timed record that includes when you paid your tab, when the check was opened, the types of drinks you ordered and the amount you consumed, as well as when the tab was closed, that evidence will be useful at trial if you want to claim a rising alcohol defense. You may also need to testify if you have a medical condition that you think tainted the results of your DUI test or your performance on the field sobriety tests.

Conditions such as diabetes, GERD, and hypoglycemia may have an effect on the tests. Your lawyer may decide to limit your testimony to your medical condition and not have you testify about the facts of the incident, in order to avoid cross-examination on that topic. The decision of whether or not to testify in your trial is a strategic one. A lawyer can best explain the pros and cons.

DUI Defenses That May Require Your Testimony

Although the decision to testify or not may be unclear, your rights under the Constitution are very clear. You have the absolute right to testify, but you may not be compelled by the prosecution to testify. In essence, you have a "right" not to testify. If you do testify, the prosecution has the opportunity to cross-examine you; this may not be in your best interest. However, there are certain defenses that can only be explained to a jury with your testimony. Two such defenses are:

#1: Disconnect Theory

A disconnect theory relies on the concept that the measured level of your blood alcohol, by any or all of the chemical tests administered, does not make sense with either how much you claim you had to drink or with other physical evidence. For instance, did you perform the field sobriety test(s) without a problem? Was there no necessity for you to use a restroom at any time?

You, therefore, behaved in a manner inconsistent with the test results. If so, your Orange County DUI defense lawyer may be able to attack the chemical test results as suspect. If the arresting officer did not ask you questions as to your drinking pattern prior to your arrest, or if that conversation was not recorded, the jury can only learn this information from you.

#2: Exposure to Toxins

If you work in an environment which regularly exposes you to toxic materials, your body may become "saturated" with those materials. The consequence may result in a breath test that incorrectly registers high blood alcohol content. Your testimony is required to show the type of job you have and what materials you are exposed to. Your lawyer will then bring in an expert witness to explain to the jury the science behind exposure to toxins and skewed breathalyzer test results.

To schedule a free initial consultation with a dedicated DUI attorney at The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, simply fill out the form on this page.