Factors in Deciding to Testify at Your DUI Trial

If you have been charged with driving under the influence and your case is going to trial, you may be worrying about how best to put on your defense. Your Milwaukee DUI attorney will help you understand what to expect, but there is one extremely important decision you must make: will you testify in your own defense? The Constitution guarantees you the right to testify if you want to, and while your attorney will help you weigh the pros and cons, ultimately it is your decision whether or not to testify. You should undertake a comprehensive analysis of your case and think about the strengths and weaknesses of your case when making this decision.

The jury in your trial will expect you to take the stand and testify that you were not under the influence of alcohol. If you can supply that testimony convincingly and effectively, you might be able to provide the reasonable doubt necessary to secure an acquittal. In certain cases, the judge may instruct that if the jurors find the defendant’s testimony to be credible, that is enough to provide reasonable doubt. However, the fact is that the most potentially damaging witness to your case is you, and if the jury does not believe you or finds you unsympathetic, your case is over.

One way to look at this is to ask: if the jurors know everything about the case, will they have reasonable doubt without your testimony? Can your Milwaukee DUI attorney score enough points with the cross-examination of the prosecution’s witnesses and the other defense witnesses you have to win the case? If not, if you think additional elements might be needed to secure to get reasonable doubt in the eyes of the jury, ask yourself whether you are likely to gain more by testifying than the prosecution will gain by being able to cross-examine you on the stand. Even a moderately skilled prosecutor will be able to do some damage to your case if you take the stand, so consider whether you will be able to withstand that pressure regardless.

If you have more questions about testifying, contact an experienced Milwaukee DUI attorney from the law firm of Vanden Heuvel & Dineen.