Any lawyer will tell you that having good witnesses on your side can make the difference between winning and losing a trial. This is particularly true in the case of the OUI trial in Massachusetts. If the case is triable, and I have good witnesses I often get a pretty good sense that I am going to win the case. The reason for that is simple. Cops are usually not good witnesses in OUI cases. They are stiff and unlikable. They are usually relatively young as the more experienced police officers are more likely going to be in a more specialized unit and not on routine patrol. On the other hand, a good witness for the defense will simply answer the questions. No agenda here. Just good, honest testimony that will often result in an acquittal for the defendant.
What Makes Cops Bad Witnesses?
Cops get hostile towards defense attorneys in front of juries. They often respond to cross-examination in an aggressive manner. Anytime that happens juries will believe a witnesses’ testimony that the officer was rude in during the stop. I remind jurors that if the officer is this nasty at trial towards me, imagine what he was like on the night of the alleged incident. At least at trial there is a referee (the judge) and rules of decorum. On the street there are not. Juries get this and quickly see right through the officer’s testimony. Now, add the testimony of a good defense witness. My chances of victory are now much improved.
What Makes a Good Defense Witness in an OUI Case?
Be yourself. The biggest mistake witnesses make is trying to convince the jury that they are telling the truth. It is the criminal defense lawyer’s job to be persuasive, not the witnesses’. Just respond to the question. There is no need to elaborate unless asked to do so by the defense attorney or the district attorney. Don’t feel like you have to explain or correct inaccuracies in the police officer’s testimony or police report. Some witnesses have read the police report. Remember this is just the officer’s memorialization of the events. It is not necessarily accurate or even true. Anytime you acknowledge statements in his report but you try to characterize them you are giving the officer credibility. Don’t be afraid contradict the police officer. This lets the jury know that the officer is not telling the truth. Don’t be afraid to let the jury know that the cop was a jerk. Be honest. District attorneys who prosecute OUI cases in Massachusetts are rather new and often young. They ask stupid questions that jurors will see as stupid unless you validate them by responding in a suspect manner. For example, if the defendant is a family member the district attorney might ask you the following questions: “You love the defendant don’t you?” I imagine the response is “Yes”. The follow up question is always “And you would do anything for him wouldn’t you?”. Again, an honest response would be “I probably would”. And next, thinking they have you on the ropes they ask “And wouldn’t that include lying for him?” If there is no objection, or the objection is overruled, keep telling the truth. “Yes I would…but I am not lying now”. The jury will appreciate your honest response.
Hire an Experience Massachusetts OUI Lawyer Today
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, PC has been defending OUI cases in Massachusetts with unmatched success for nearly three decades. Call us at 617-2673-6800 with any questions you have. We will represent you.