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Expert Witnesses in Maryland DUI Cases

Expert witnesses could be a crucial asset for individuals charged with a DUI. While drunk driving charges may rely heavily on the methods and the tools law enforcement use to determine a person’s intoxication level, a person could have expert witnesses in Maryland DUI cases challenge the validity of any evidence the prosecution may use against them. Consult a knowledgeable attorney to learn how expert witnesses may play a part in your defense case.

Qualifications a Person Must Meet to Become an Expert Witness in Maryland

Any person who wishes to testify as an expert in Maryland must be meet certain requirements. Similar to most other systems, the state follows a Daubert Standard, which means an expert witness must be qualified by having knowledge a lay person would not possess. They must have experience, knowledge, training, skills, or education that elevates them to the level of expert.

The proponent of the Maryland expert must submit the argument as to why the person is qualified to speak in a DUI case. The argument could present the expert’s qualifications, background, experience, why their testimony is relevant to the issue of the case, and the basis for the expert opinion. The basis could be data, a report, or the information that the expert relied upon. The other party in the DUI case could oppose or consent if they think there is an issue with any of that information.

Before deciding whether the person is qualified, the judge will hold a hearing before the trial starts and hear both sides to argue over the expert’s status. Many other states have ways to qualify the expert, which could include a scientific basis.

The Role of an Expert Witness in a Prosecution’s Case

A law enforcement official could testify on the standardized field sobriety test. There may also be expert opinions assessing and analyzing other indicators and markers of intoxication. Law enforcement officers in Maryland must be qualified as experts witnesses beyond the knowledge of a standard layperson to testify about the standardized field sobriety test and other indicators in DUI cases. There also are expert witnesses who could testify about the breathalyzer, blood or urine test who could be called on to discuss the tests, results and their meaning.

How an Expert Witness Could Help a Defendant

While it may vary based on the specific type of expert, the defense’s witness could offer an opinion on some aspect of the evidence or some data or information to advance the defense theory of the case. Experts in intoxication or the influence of alcohol on a person’s body could counter the state’s expert witness and argue that the defendant’s performance on the standardized field sobriety test or the defendant’s behavior was not indicative of impairment. A defense expert witness also could analyze or interpret medical results and explain it to the jury, notably if the defendant had a medical condition that could affect breathalyzer results or could affect their behavior. If the person was involved in an accident, an expert witness could testify about the effects and impact of the crash on a person and how it could make an individual behave in ways that otherwise may seem as if the person were intoxicated.

The Importance of an Expert Witness’s Testimony

An expert witness testimony is typically held in a great deal of importance. Since the very nature of being an expert indicates the person has some qualifications, such evidence is considered reliable. Judges and juries typically listen to lawyers when asked to consider the expert’s testimony. If there is a battle of the experts with opposing conclusions, the jury typically weighs whichever factors they may wish when deciding on whom to believe.

While the testimonies of expert witnesses in Maryland DUI cases are considered authentic and reliable, a defense attorney could mitigate the impact of the prosecutor’s expert witness is to attack or undermine its relevance. Even if the actual information or the opinion of the expert appears to be reliable and sound, it may not make as big of an impact on the jury if the defense attorney is able to render the opinion inconsequential to the case.

How a DUI Attorney Could Challenge Claims Made by the Government’s Experts

An experienced attorney could begin by challenging the credentials, experience, or background of the alleged expert witnesses in Maryland DUI cases. Attorney’s may argue that the government witness is not qualified and should not be allowed to testify by presenting their own expert witness to analyze the same information and come to a different conclusion. If you were charged with driving under the influence, you need a strong defense. Contact an experienced attorney today to schedule a consultation.

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