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The Officer As Witness

The Police Officer as a Drunk Driving Witness

When cross-examining a police officer, the California DUI defense firm should constantly keep in mind that this is a professional witness. They are not an individual who will be nervous and easily shaken; this officer witness has probably testified dozens — perhaps hundreds — of times before and is quite at home on the stand. The officer is no longer aware of the courtroom and is quite used to crossing swords with DUI defense lawyers. In all probability, the officer is adept at maintaining a calm and respectful demeanor for the jury while at the same time taking every opportunity to ram the knife deeper into the defendant. In other words, the arresting officer must at least initially be viewed by the DUI lawyer as a skilled adversary and handled as such.

A second important consideration in cross-examination of the arresting officer often overlooked by the DUI attorney is the simple fact that each officer is an individual. A cross-examination premised upon this witness as a “type” or “clone” will probably be ineffective: each officer is an individual and must be approached on that basis. Where a knock-down cross-examination of an officer under one set of circumstances may be appropriate, a very tactful and respectful approach may be more productive under another. The successful California DUI defense attorney understands that each officer is unique — each varying in intelligence, experience, and honesty, each with their own attitudes and prejudices.

If you have any further questions, The Law Offices Of Taylor & Taylor can help. Schedule your free initial consultation by filling out our online contact form or calling us at (562) 330-4173.

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With an average of 32 years of experience, a top A-V rating, and a listing in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, the firm continues to be widely recognized as California’s premier DUI defense attorney's and has twice been recognized in the American Bar Association Journal for its specialization and unique technical support staff of former law enforcement, blood-alcohol and DMV experts.

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