Should a Defendant in a California DUI case Testify?

During a California drunk-driving trial, both the prosecution and the  California DUI/DWI lawyer will call several witnesses to testify.  One witness that a California Drunk Driving Defense Attorney may call is the suspected DUI offender.  While the suspected DUI offender may testify, he or she is not required to.  CA DUI defendants, as with any other criminal defendant, are not under any obligation to testify or produce any witnesses to testify on their behalf. 

 

Whether or not a DUI defendant testifies is a decision that should be made between the DUI defendant and his or her California DUI defense attorney.  While some DUI defendants feel that it is a good idea for them to testify simply because they want to “tell their side,” it should be considered carefully because it is not always a wise decision.  When CA DUI Offenders testify, it opens them up to cross-examination by the District Attorney.  This provides the District Attorney with the opportunity to pick apart things that were simply stated on the record, or bring up the fact that the defendant was previously convicted of a crime, resulting in possibly scoring points with the jury.  Some defendants can get quite nervous or emotional on the stand, which juries may believe indicates that the individual is lying and thus, guilty.  Furthermore, in situations where California DUI defendants were intoxicated and are unable to remember any details of the police stop or arrest, it is not a good idea to have them testify as doing so could hurt the defense’s case.