Do I have to testify if my Massachusetts OUI charge goes to trial?
Many people charged with a first offense Massachusetts OUI charge wonder whether they will have to testify if the case goes to trial. You are under no obligation to testify at trial and in many cases it is a better strategy for your not to testify.
Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, an individual charged with OUI or any criminal offense has a Constitutional right to remain silent. The jury cannot use your failure to testify against you.
There are many reasons why is often in your best interest not to testify.
- Often a defendant may have very little to add to the defense. The disagreement is not with the officer's observations but the conclusion drawn from those observations.
- In some cases, you may harm the defense by putting forth additional facts that were not known to the officer, not contained in the police report and would only come into evidence though your testimony.
- Some people may not have good communication skills and may get nervous speaking before a jury.
- When a defendant testifies, it shifts the focus of the jury from the Commonwealth's case to an evaluation of your credibility.
I have won numerous cases where my client has never testified and in fact in the vast majority of my DUI trials, my client never testifies. While some attorneys claim that the jury wants to hear from a client charged with drunk driving, I do not believe this is accurate and in most cases will not recommend my client testifying at trial.
If you have any questions regarding whether you should testify at your Massachusetts OUI trial, feel free to call me at 781-686-5924 or 508-455-4755 and I would be happy to discuss this issue with you.