If you have been charged with DWI in North Carolina, you face serious penalties if convicted that can include a jail sentence, large fine, and driver’s license suspension. In addition, you would have a permanent criminal record. However, you may be able to avoid these harsh consequences by hiring an experienced DWI attorney who can mount a strong defense to the charges that you face—even if you are guilty. One defense strategy that he may suggest that can be very effective is to hire expert witnesses.
What Is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness is an individual who has expertise in their field based on their knowledge, education, training, and job experience. This gives him the ability to explain certain facts or issue an opinion about medical, scientific, or environmental factors that affect your DWI case. Reasons that you may want to retain an expert witness include:
- An expert can issue an opinion that supports a defense in your case or challenges the prosecutor’s case against you.
- An expert can testify at your trial and explain to the jury why the state’s evidence is faulty and why you are not guilty. A good expert will be a strong witness that is more likely to be believed by the jury.
- Having an expert’s opinion on key issues in your case may convince the prosecutor to dismiss the charges or reduce them to a less serious offense because of the weaknesses of the State’s case against you.
Experts That Can Be Helpful in a Charlotte DWI Case
Expert witnesses are not required in every DWI case and the ones that could help you will depend on the facts surrounding your arrest. Here are common types of experts used in DWI cases:
- Police officer. A law enforcement official will understand how a DWI investigation should be properly conducted and how tests to determine if a person is intoxicated should be administered. He can identify errors made in your case which may impact on the validity of evidence against you, such as whether the police had probable cause to stop you or whether they properly administered field sobriety and breathalyzer tests.
- Forensic toxicologist. A forensic toxicologist can speak about scientific matters in your case. This can include testifying how a certain level of alcohol can affect your body and whether you really were impaired. He can also challenge the blood alcohol content (BAC) results in your case. A forensic toxicologist can do this by showing that the breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated, that the machine was not used properly, or that the testing procedure is not reliable.
- Field sobriety expert. A police officer must follow detailed procedures when administering field sobriety tests. Failure to do so can result in incorrect test results and affect whether the officer was justified in arresting you. A field sobriety expert can issue an opinion as to errors in how your test was administered, if other conditions may have impacted your performance, and other factors that make the test results unreliable. This could result in the test results being ruled inadmissible and may weaken the prosecutor’s case in other ways.
- Accident reconstruction expert. If you were involved in a car accident when you were arrested for DWI, you may need to hire an accident reconstruction expert who can create a reenactment of how the crash occurred. He can also testify about the speed of the vehicles, whether the brakes were applied, whether your reaction time was affected by your alcohol consumption, and other factors.
Have You Been Arrested for a DWI in Charlotte, NC?
If you are facing DWI charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.