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The Value of Skilled Cross Examination in OWI/DUI Defense

As the old saying goes, “The truth shall set you free.” When it comes to OWI/ DUI defense, that truth is often uncovered through cross-examination tactics. Effective cross-examination can mean the difference between a guilty verdict and a dismissed case. In OWI cases that go to trial, cross-examination is critical. Through cross-examination, your attorney may be able to establish police misconduct, unreliability of witnesses, inaccurate blood-alcohol testing, and more in the interests of achieving a positive outcome for you in court.

What is Cross-Examination?

Cross-examination is the process of questioning a witness in court to challenge or expand upon testimony. In order to be effective, cross-examination must be carefully planned and executed. During cross-examination, your attorney will attempt to impeach witnesses that are not credible, elicit favorable evidence and information, and neutralize unfavorable information.

Movie scenes and TV criminal trials often feature cross-examination, so this aspect of legal practice is what attorneys are most often associated with in popular culture. It’s no wonder why; an experienced, artful cross-examiner can be thrilling to watch. An effective cross-examiner is a master storyteller and a tactical interrogator who exudes strength on behalf of their client.

Identifying Vulnerabilities in the Prosecution’s Case

In drunk driving cases, there are a number of vulnerabilities that can be exploited through cross-examination to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. Cross-examination strategies that your attorney may employ include:

  • Questions about the arresting officer’s conduct may focus on whether or not the officer had probable cause to make the stop if the officer(s) followed procedure and if there was any misconduct during your arrest.

  • Questions about the defendant’s behavior may center around whether or not you were responsive to police commands if you were observed stumbling, slurring speech, or otherwise indicating that you were under the influence at the time of the police stop.

  • Questions about your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) can establish whether or not the results of the test are accurate, if there was a delay in testing, and if proper procedure was followed during testing. If the prosecution’s BAC evidence is based solely on a breath test, your defense counsel can attack the reliability of the test by questioning the calibration and maintenance of the machine used to administer the test.

  • Questioning witnesses: If witnesses claim that they saw you driving erratically, counsel can explore whether they actually had an opportunity to observe all of the driving behaviors they claim to have seen. Additional witnesses may be impeached with prior inconsistent statements or bias against the defendant revealed through skillful cross-examination.

Wisconsin OWI/DUI Cross-Examination

When it comes to OWI/DUI charges, it is imperative that you have a skilled cross-examiner on your side in the event that your case goes to trial. Attorney Adam P. Nero of Nelson Defense Group exclusively practices OWI/DUI defense, and he’s seen it all! From unreliable witnesses with a chip on their shoulder to police downright not doing their job, Nero’s experience shedding light on the truth through cross-examination has made him a sought-after asset to drunk driving defendants throughout Wisconsin.