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Factors that Affect a Driver’s Credibility in Comparison to an Officer during a Los Angeles DUI Stop

  • September 1, 2017

    If you are preparing to face a DUI charge in court, you are probably aware that much of the evidence will come from the arresting officer. The officer may provide information about where they found you or how intoxicated you appeared when arrested. The arresting officer’s statement is often used as proof that you were driving while intoxicated, so it is important to understand how credibility works.

    The credibility of a witness in a court of law has a huge affect on the case’s outcome because evidence typically relies on the officer’s statement, and the results of sobriety testing. If the driver and the officer’s statement’s vary, the most credible statement will probably have a larger influence on the outcome of the trial. The officer’s credibility will most likely be seen as higher than the driver’s credibility due to a few key factors.

    Credibility in a court of law is the likelihood of a person’s statement being believed. In Los Angeles courts of law, testimony credibility is typically determined by whether the witness was present at the scene, paid attention at the scene, and told the whole truth. Unfortunately, the situations that lead to a DUI charge can make it seem like the driver’s credibility is impaired.

    1. The circumstances of the case
    Even though defendants are technically innocent until proven guilty, the judge and prosecution will be less inclined to believe the driver’s account if they think the driver was drunk. It is generally presumed that a person consumed alcohol previous to the event, since there is a DUI charge in the first place. Therefore, they might have a misconception that the driver has a blurred recollection of the events that led up to the charge. Police officers are generally perceived as credible, since their job relies on upholding the law, so their evidence may be unconsciously given a greater weight during the trial.

    2. The blood alcohol level of the driver
    The driver’s credibility will be further diminished if they tested with a high BAC when arrested. Though alcohol affects each person differently, higher BAC levels above .11 percent are typically associated with noticeable mental impairment. Whether it is actually true or not, the judge may assume that the person could not recall things correctly or had difficulty hearing and seeing the events around them. Those with a BAC above .20 percent are even less likely to appear credible. Because the officer is presumably sober, his statement is more likely to be perceived as factual and accurately recalled.

    3. The natural bias towards self interest.
    Credibility also relies on whether or not a person is telling the truth, and just being a defendant may be associated with a lack of trustworthiness. In a court of law, a defendant is often seen as being slightly biased. People naturally want to protect themselves and present their actions in the best possible act. Any statement by the defendant may be viewed as a slightly skewed statement that is trying to promote a personal agenda of being found not guilty. This can further improve an officer’s credibility because the officer is typically presumed to be a neutral person with no invested interest in the case.

    Because of all these preconceived concepts about drivers in Los Angeles DUI cases, it can be tricky for the driver to argue against a DUI charge. If the driver does not seem credible, the judge and prosecutors may think that the officer’s statement is the only believe evidence from the events surrounding the arrest.

    Sadly, these perceptions of credibility are not always accurate. Not every intoxicated person will have greatly impaired judgement, and many defendants will tell the truth without a bias towards their own self-interest. In some cases, an officer’s report may not tell the full story, or it may be otherwise inaccurate.

    It is therefore essential to have a knowledgeable defense attorney who has experience in Los Angeles DUI cases if you are charged with a DU. A good lawyer can help to successfully present your argument against the charges and highlight possible errors made by the arresting officer. With the right attorney on your DUI case, you can emphasize your own credibility and get the best possible outcome for your situation.

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