Examination of the Arresting Officer

Every aspect of the arresting officer’s circumstances, disciplinary record and training may be explored to aid in the cross-examination. Marks in his or her disciplinary record may be used to affect the credibility of the officer at trial. Even his or her memory of the events may be attacked, especially if only supported by a poorly written police report.

Another way that a cross-examination may be effective is by challenging an officer who portrays himself or herself as an expert. This is more likely to occur in cases involving field sobriety tests initiated after suspicion of drinking and driving. For example, a law enforcement officer may state that he or she observed the defendant’s eyes jerking during the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. By attacking the officer’s credibility based on his or her lack of medical training or limited experience, the criminal defense lawyer can help build reasonable doubt.

Denial of a Legal Representative

If a criminal defendant asks for a lawyer clearly and unwaveringly, law enforcement officers should not continue to question the defendant. A criminal defendant has a right to legal counsel once he or she is in custody and is questioned. Law enforcement must wait a reasonable time to question the defendant after he or she asserts the right to legal counsel.

Mistakes by Law Enforcement

If a law enforcement hears or sees something incriminating because of a police mistake, this evidence may be thrown out as inadmissible due to the legal doctrine of fruit of the poisonous tree.

Anonymous Report

In some states, an anonymous report may not provide sufficient grounds for a law enforcement officer to make a stop.

Challenge Sobriety Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints must often follow very strict rules based on state law. A criminal defense lawyer can investigate if this checkpoint followed the proper protocol or not.

Challenge Field Sobriety Tests or Breathalyzer Tests

In DUI cases, a criminal defense lawyer may challenge how a field sobriety test or Breathalyzer test was administered to assert that proper procedures were not followed.

Provide Feasible Alternative Explanation

There may be innocent explanations that can help explain suspicious behavior and characteristics such as unsteady balance, slurred speech, incomprehensible speech, red eyes and other factors. Factors such as bad weather, uneven ground, taking prescribed medication or having literacy problems may explain some of these behaviors.

Challenge BAC Results

There is often a dispute in DUI cases involving a BAC reading above the legal limit as to whether the reading accurately portrays the BAC at the time of the stop. Studies show that it may take anywhere between 30 minutes and here hours for the body to absorb alcohol. Some criminal defense lawyers may argue that the BAC was continuing to rise after the defendant was stopped and arrested and that his or her BAC level was much lower when actually stopped.

Introduce Witnesses

The defense has the constitutional right to call witnesses that support his or her defense. Witnesses may provide an alternative observation that supports the defendant.

Lack of Specific Intent

In some cases, the prosecution has the duty to show that the defendant had the specific intent to commit a particular crime. For example, in theft cases, the prosecution may have to show that the defendant had the intent to permanently deprive the owner of an item that he or she lawfully owned. Without this intent, the defendant cannot be convicted.