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Los Angeles DUI and Medical Experts

  • May 25, 2017

    When you’re charged with drunk driving, it’s important to consider every possible defense. Many people who face drunk driving charges don’t realize how much science goes into a DUI investigation. There’s usually a chemical test of some kind, and even field sobriety tests are standardized based on scientific testing.

    At a drunk driving trial, a lay witness is a person who testifies about what they saw. This might be the law enforcement officer or it might be another person on the scene. However, it might be helpful to have a person with scientific expertise explain things to the jury to help them understand some of the scientific aspects of the investigation. This might be where you want to hire an expert.

    A medical expert might be a toxicologist. A toxicologist can tell the jury about the chemical testing used in a drunk driving investigation. They can tell the jury that the chemical test that you took at the police station might not be an accurate reflection of your drunk driving levels while you were driving on the road. That’s because your level of alcohol intoxication might still be rising as you go to the police station for your test.

    A medical expert can also tell the jury about any medical problems that might invalidate the tests done in the case. In some cases, seizure medication can cause a horizontal gaze nystagmus test to indicate alcohol use when there isn’t any. In other cases, you might have a physical problem that prevents you from properly performing field sobriety tests. The law enforcement officer might have ignored this fact and directed you to complete field sobriety tests anyways. Telling a jury what really happened according to a medical expert can go a long ways to help the jury arrive at the correct verdict in your case.

    To call a medical expert at trial, they have to show that they have more scientific knowledge than a typical person has on the subject. You also have to show how explaining the information to the jury can help them understand the unique issues in the case. Usually, an expert that testifies in any kind of court hearing has advanced education and training, but that isn’t always the case. A person can become an expert just because of their experience and their personal exposure to a topic.

    There are a number of ways that a medical expert can question the chemical test given in a case. Law enforcement needs to observe a person for a period of time before they give them a chemical test. If the person belches or puts anything in their mouth, the test can be invalid.

    In addition, gastroesophageal relux disease can also invalidate a test because a person might have alcohol in their mouth that isn’t a true sign of their intoxication. Failing to follow these protocols when giving a chemical test can sometimes produce results that are far too high. Even diabetes can produce false positive results on a breath test for alcohol. An expert can explain all of this to the jury.

    Your Los Angeles DUI lawyers can look at your case and help you determine if a medical expert can help. The prosecutor has a chance to cross examine any expert that you call. In addition, they can bring their own expert. Your attorneys can help make sure that you follow all of the rules to make sure that the jury gets to hear from your expert in court. It’s important to work with an attorney as quickly as possible so that they can begin preparing your case.

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