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Closing Argument in a Drunk Driving Trial

After both sides have presented their case in a California criminal DUI trial, the prosecutor and defense lawyer each give closing arguments. The closing argument is one of the most important parts of a trial, as the entire trial leads up to the summation. The argument is especially significant if the outcome of the trial is too close to predict. At that point, all that matters is the attorney's last minute attempt to persuade the jury to find in favor of his or her client. For a skilled California criminal DUI defense attorney, this is a chance to show jurors that the prosecutor has not proven each element of the DUI case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Because the prosecutor has the burden of proving DUI offense, he or she has the advantage of arguing both first and last. Once the prosecutor has completed his or her closing argument, the defense attorney will give a closing argument, and then the prosecutor has a chance to rebut. This may seem like a difficult obstacle to overcome, but a carefully developed closing arguments for the defense will address any questions the prosecutor poses to the jury.

A strong closing argument reminds jurors of their responsibility to vote not guilty if the prosecutor has not proven every element of the criminal DUI case beyond a reasonable doubt. Savvy prosecutors often give jurors the erroneous impression that the defense has the burden of proving a driver's innocence, but that isn't true. Although jury instructions specifically point out that the prosecutor, not the defense, has the burden of proving the case, jurors sometimes forget this critical point in the presence of a skillful prosecutor.

A criminal DUI defense lawyer also will remind jurors that in cases involving circumstantial evidence where there are two reasonable views, the jury must accept the view that points to innocence. An experienced California DUI defense attorney will use this reminder to cast doubt on every possible aspect of the prosecution's case. For example, if the arresting officer testified that the defendant performed poorly on a field sobriety test because he or she was intoxicated, and the defense introduced evidence that the physical problem stemmed from an injury, the jury must accept the explanation that points to the defendant's innocence.

Closing arguments also provide defense lawyer with an opportunity to point out holes in the prosecutor's case and stress alternative explanations presented by the defense. The DUI defense attorney will remind the jurors of the testimony of the DUI defense expert, or any alibi witnesses. Finally, criminal DUI defense lawyer will urge the jury to remember the oath they took to follow the law, and the jury instructions.

Criminal defense attorney's closing argument is most effective if the DUI defense attorney has made a connection with jurors and gained their trust. This process begins long before closing arguments - a skilled criminal defense lawyer begins reaches out to jurors during jury selection, and builds on that connection throughout the trial.

An effective closing argument should include jury instructions, a reminder of the prosecutor's burden of proof, and a summary of the defense DUI case. An experienced California criminal DUI defense lawyer will then ask the jury to render a just and fair verdict of not guilty.

Prosecutor's Closing Argument

The prosecution usually reviews all of the evidence in his or her closing argument. He or she may again show the jury a booking photo of the defendant on the night of the DUI arrest, or the prosecutor may describe the physical signs of intoxication. The prosecutor will then review the testimony of each witness. Finally, the prosecutor will ask the jury to return a verdict of guilty.

After the prosecutor is finished with the closing argument, the defendant's attorney gives his or her own closing argument. California criminal DUI defense lawyer will deliver an effective closing argument that can overcome any points made by the prosecutor. The effectiveness of a prosecutor's closing argument depends on the strength of the prosecution DUI case.

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