Statements in a Darien DUI Trial
In Connecticut criminal cases, opening statements are not allowed. Typically, the clerk reads the charging document to the jury to begin the trial. This information says what the person is being charged with and on what date the charge allegedly took place. Anyone about to begin a Darien DUI trial should contact a distinguished drunk driving attorney to prepare.
Role of the Prosecution
Usually, one or two prosecutors work in the state attorney’s office will present the case against the driver. They need to prove that the person being charged operated the car and that they did so when they were intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
They present any evidence that would show either these two things. For example, police testimony that they saw the person driving erratically, the testimony of another officer who did the person’s blood alcohol test, that is the evidence that they are going to be presenting. It is typically in the form of testimony although sometimes there are pictures as well.
Use of Evidence and Testimony
Sometimes, if there is also an audio or video recording that shows the person appearing to be intoxicated, they might use that in their case in chief. Then, while the state is presenting their case, the defense has the right to cross-examine any witness that testified against the defendant.
A prosecutor can ask the individual questions, look for weak points in their testimony, inconsistencies in the police report, and any other favorable evidence, and point that out on cross-examination to get that information in front of the judge or jury right from the beginning.
Presenting Evidence for the Defense
Typically, after the state rests and has finished with their case in chief, the defense would try to move for a judgment of acquittal, especially if there is any indication that the state has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
In most cases, if the case has gone this far, the government’s case will be able to survive that motion and does go into the defense of case in chief. The defense does not have to present any materials, witnesses, or testimony at all.
If they do choose to present it, typically it is in the form of witnesses stating that the person maybe did not drink that night or another expert witness like a toxicologist to counter some part of the state’s case in chief. Similarly, when the defense is presenting their case in chief, the state will be able to cross-examine their witnesses, ask them questions, and rebut some of the evidence as well.
Role of Closing Statements
Closing statements are allowed in Connecticut. The state gets the opportunity to go first and then the defense gets to give their closing statement. Then, the state gets to give a rebuttal closing statement.
Typically, each side will recap the favorable evidence. The state will be recapping evidence that it thinks shows the person did commit a DUI while the defense will be bringing forward helpful points to show that they did not.
They also will give a little preview of the law that the jury has to apply and will try to show how the favorable points and the favorable facts apply to the law.
Duration of a Trial
It could take one to three days to actually pick the jury because that process is a little bit longer in Connecticut if there is a jury. Then, once the evidence phase starts, it could be something as simple as a day or it could be a week. It depends on how many witnesses each side has; that usually determines how long the trial will actually take, but we typically see them between one and five days.