This week I tried a DWI refusal. The case was 3 1/2 years old and was tried several years ago by another attorney and the client was unfortunately convicted. 3 1/2 years later the case is back in the trial court in Tarrant County after an appeal resulted in a new trial.
Three officers testified which is difficult in a refusal case. In many cases there is only the opinion testimony of one officer. In this case three testified as to my client’s intoxication.
What can you possibly do to combat this amount of opinion testimony?
1. You do NOT attack the cop. That will get you no where with the jury especially if the officer(s) are likable and come across as credible.
2. Question the memory of the witnesses and call their “opinion,” not their character into question.
3. Elicit sympathy by calling witnesses to introduce your client to the jury. Whether by having your client testify or calling friends who were present at the offense, make sure you give the jury an opportunity to get to know your client.
4. Because a refusal case involves no “scientific” evidence you must create sympathy which will make the jury hesitant to convict. In a case with no victim and no science and a likable client, the jury will be hesitant to convict.
This case resulted in a hung jury which was miraculous as the video was not good for my client. The key to this case and so many others is presenting a sympathetic client. Allow the jury to get to know your client as a human and not just a defendant.