Jury Trial Strategy in Superior Court DWI Cases | Charlotte DUI Lawyers

Jury Trial Strategy in Superior Court

jury trial strategyJury trial strategy varies in each case as every case is different. However, there are common themes in all Charlotte DUI arrests. In every DWI arrest, the State of North Carolina has to prove (1) driving, (2) on a public road, and (3) a BAC of 0.08 or greater. If there is no BAC level (machine time out or refusal), the State can still win by showing appreciable impairment. Through experience, our Charlotte DWI defense lawyers adapt jury trial strategy depending on individual case facts. First, we keep it simple. In our view, simple works. And juries respond to simple. Below we share some of our more common jury trial strategies for clients and other DUI lawyers. We hope it helps to better explain how we defend DWI cases.

EC/IR II Breath Test Machine

The State of North Carolina uses EC/IR II breath testing equipment. To rage against the machine, our lawyers have studied and researched the EC/IR II breath testing machine in detail. And now we know just how many things can go wrong with this “instrument.” As designed, an computer algorithm makes calculations based on “one size fits all” input. Like any other machine, this one can be wrong. Sadly, too many police officers, prosecutors, and even judges still believe in this breath testing “science.”

jury trial strategyJury Trial Strategy with Low BAC Reading

If the BAC level is 0.10 or below, we usually recommend a jury trial. Of course, all other factors must also favor this recommendation. In these cases, our jury trial strategy is to focus on the machine. In reality, every machine, or “instrument” (the term police prefer to use), has a margin of error. And every machine can be wrong. Surprisingly, police always claim the breath testing machines are never wrong. In their hearts, they may truly believe this machine never fails. If something is not working, the machine is supposed to “shut itself down.”

When challenged further, police officers testify that the machine runs a self diagnostic program. After this self test, they assert the machine “tells you if it is not operating properly.” Even now, we are still amazed when we hear this absurd testimony. As a result, we let that carefully framed testimony “sink in” with the jury by pausing briefly. Nevertheless, the generally accepted margin of error in breath testing equipment is 0.02. Police procedure requires retesting if the two readings are greater than 0.02 apart.

jury trial strategyJury Trial Strategy with High BAC Reading

For relative high BAC cases, an effective jury trial strategy requires good video evidence. In the beginning, we challenge the machine and encourage the jury to decide based on what they see and hear. Rather than blindly accept a “number,” jurors should decide on what they observe for themselves. In the end, they will trust their own judgement. For this to be effective, first, there must be enough video for a jury to form an opinion. Next, there can be no slurred or incoherent speech. And the client cannot sway, stagger, or fall. But if any bad behaviors are seen in video, you should not risk trial. Rather, get your case ready for plea. When instructed by the judge to use their common sense and life experiences, juries will see the truth on video. Just make sure the truth is on your side.

Jury Trial Strategy with No BAC Reading

In cases where the machine times out or the defendant refuses, there will be no BAC to present. Here, the State can get a warrant and draw blood. But sometimes they do not exercise this option. As a result, any jury verdict depends on the video evidence the arresting officer’s testimony. Consequently, jury trial strategy requires good behavior on video. To win here, the video must show someone steady, stable, and engaging. If there is any slurring or other bad conduct, this approach will not work. Furthermore, you can lose your case and irritate a judge. After all, no one likes to waste their time. Moreover, you do not want to risk possible active jail time.

Robert J. Reeves P.C.

Located here in Charlotte, the DWI defense lawyers of Robert J. Reeves P.C. welcome an opportunity to review your case. Over the years, we have helped many individuals facing a DWI in Mecklenburg County. For more information about how we may be able to help you, please contact Mr. Reeves directly by calling 704-222-7525 or email aaron@leeandleelawfirm.com.

*Membership in and recognition by the National College for DUI Defense, Avvo, and other organizations shows our commitment to DUI defense.