The opening statement is your attorney’s first opportunity to discuss the case with the jury. In the opening statement, the attorney will have the opportunity to explain your theory to the jury from the perspective of what the facts will show.
Before your attorney gives his opening statement, the prosecutor will have the opportunity to give an opening statement. In his opening statement, the prosecutor will generally point out the negative pieces of evidence in your case. These may include how you performed on field sobriety tests, how you drove, and other indicators of intoxication. Unless it is previously stipulated to, the prosecutor will not be able to talk about a breath or blood score in the opening statements. He may state that the evidence will show that you were intoxicated but he will not be able to say that your breath score was .13 (for example), until he has established the foundation for the breath score through his witnesses. Much like the police officer who arrested you, the prosecutor will not talk about the weaknesses in his case. He will only focus on negative facts that point toward your guilt.
When your attorney gives his opening statement, he will have the opportunity to talk about the positive facts of your case. This may include your driving, your appearance, your responses to the police officer, your performance on the field sobriety tests, your performance on a breath or blood test, or other indicators that you were not intoxicated. Your attorney may also talk about officer bias and how the officer unfairly judged you. Another issue that your attorney may address is how the field sobriety tests are judged by a police officer who has already formed the opinino that you should be arrested. The exact statements that your attorney uses should be pulled from his cross-examination of the police officer during the administrative hearing. In most circumstances, an attorney can setup an officer during the administrative hearing, so that he has lots of good evidence to use against the officer in your criminal trial. Naturally, the issues that are discussed by your attorney will deal with the specific facts of your case.
After your attorney has discussed his theory of the case with the jury, he will sit down and the prosecutor will begin his case-in-chief. In this part of the trial, the prosecutor will call witnesses and your attorney will have the opportunity to cross examine those witnesses.
In the next part of this series, we will discuss the prosecutor’s case-in-chief and some of the issues that are typically raised when cross-examining the prosecutor’s witnesses.
The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.