Most Americans trust and respect police officers. If you think that you will be able to go into a courtroom and overcome this ingrained belief you are, most of the time, dead wrong. Americans do not like drunk drivers. If you think that you can win an OVI case by calling the police officer a liar, you will probably lose. One of the biggest mistakes an attorney can make is to position your case so that the jury must choose between believing the officer’s version of events or your version of events. Jury verdict research suggest a modified approach.
The officer is most likely just doing his job when he comes in contact with your client. Most cases involve an officer that acts professionally. Jurors will see this. Instead of being combative, cross-examine the officer in such a way that you meld his story with your client’s. Generally develop the theme that the officer took the most damning aspects of the evidence and used them against your client instead of giving him a fair chance. An example is bloodshot or glassy eyes. “There are other common causes of red eyes other than alcohol, aren’t there officer?” You could ask about whether or not the officer inquired about other causes, whether the officer asked the accused to explain and whether or not the officer has any training in determining what constitutes bloodshot/glassy/red eyes. When you take this approach the officer’s testimony will often open a door. You could argue that the officer made a mistake just this once. You may also be able to argue that the officer had his mind made up that your client was drunk as soon as he made initial contact. Lawrence Taylor, a great DUI attorney from California, often begins his cross-examination of the officer by asking, “You testified that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol. Is it possible you are wrong?”
Nothing substitutes for experience and preparation. A careful and thorough reading of the discovery, a detailed examination of any video tapes that exist, a visit to the scene of the arrest and a comprehensive interview with your client will help you develop at theme that will allow the jury to see the facts in a light most favorable to your client. The goal is not a total anhiliation of the officer, but a path to reasonable doubt.
DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Huber Heights, Beavercreek, Centerville, Springboro, Franklin and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671. For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitterupdates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook,www.facebook.com/daytondui and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube. You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.