Will I Have to Testify at My Trial?
It is often a debate between DUI attorneys whether or not it is a good idea to call the defendant as a witness at trial. Many lawyers have horror stories of how they lost cases because of the defendant's poor testimony, and most take the view that the defendant should only testify if absolutely necessary.
You Are Under No Obligation to Testify
The starting point is that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. The defendant does not have to testify and the jury is instructed not to hold this against him. Exposing the defendant to cross examination can be very damaging.
However, in our experience, jurors expect innocent clients to tell their story and may believe that they are hiding something if they don't.
When Does It Make Sense to Testify?
Some defendants insist on testifying and have the right to reject counsel's advice on this point. Some drunk driving defenses require testimony from the defendant, such as having a medical condition or where the client's testimony is the only source of evidence for their defense. Sometimes, the defendant's testimony can evoke sympathy from a jury.
Each drunk driving case should be evaluated on its own merits and decisions should be made with the defendant's full understanding and cooperation.