Testifying in your DUI (driving under the influence) trial isn't always beneficial. In fact, there are circumstances in which it can actually hurt your case. Here are four examples of situations in which it might be best not to testify in your DUI trial:
You Have a Criminal History
Getting on the stand is dangerous if you have a criminal history because the prosecutor will latch onto your past crimes to hurt your case. The prosecutor may use your past crimes to show why you shouldn't be believed, why you aren't a good person or why you are likely to have committed the DUI for which you are being tried. For example, if you have a fraud case in your criminal history, it's easy for the prosecutor to latch onto that in an attempt to convince the court that you are a habitual liar.
Two or Most Police Officers Contradict Your Story
If your testimony is different from that of the officer testifying against you, it is easier for the judge or jury to believe the police officer than it is for them to believe you. This is even more likely to be the case if there are multiple officers disputing your story. The rationale for this is that the officers have no reason for ganging up on you, so if their testimony is different from yours, then you are the one lying.
You Are Prone To Anger
The hallmark of a good witness is to appear calm and collected even under intense or provocative cross-examination. If you get angry and combative, it is easy to make a mistake and say something that will hurt your case. Also, the judge or jury will think less of you if you aren't composed in your testimony. The prosecutor knows this and will do everything in their power to rattle you. Thus, if you don't trust yourself to remain calm under great pressure, it isn't a good idea for you to testify.
It May Divert Attention from Your Strengths
When defending a criminal charge, you need to focus on the strengths of your case. These may include witness testimony stressing your innocence, your good character, your relatively low blood alcohol content (BAC), among others. Unfortunately, taking the stand may divert attention from these things to other less-important-but-negative issues. For example, the jury may focus on your bloodshot eyes (maybe due to a disease), your bad posture, and your poor body language at the expense of your testimony.
For more information, contact a firm such as Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC.