The opening statement is the first opportunity that your Massachusetts OUI lawyer has to address the jury and to deliver your theory of defense to the jury. This an opportunity for your lawyer to provide a theory as to why you were not under the influence, to explain any erratic driving, to undermine the reliability of the field sobriety tests and to raise questions as to the reliability of the officer’s opinion that you were drunk.
Recent studies regarding how juries decide cases indicate that, in many cases, the jurors will begin to form their opinion of the case after the opening statement. The opening statement is a critical opportunity to begin to persuade the jury. In preparing your case for trial, the opening statement generally consumes a substantial portion of my trial preparation.
An opening statement is more difficult to craft for a Massachusetts criminal lawyer because it is based on what the attorney believes the evidence will show. Accordingly, there are many strategic choices that have to be made in preparing the statement:
- Is the defendant going to testify? This is a major consideration in crafting an opening statement because if the defendant is not going to testify the opening has to be based on the testimony that the police officer will provide. In most cases, it is preferable that the defendant does not testify.
- Do I want to preview, for the jury, the cross examination of the police officer and provide the district attorney and opportunity to anticipate the impeachment of the officer?
While it would be rare for an opening statement to be waived during a drunk driving jury trial, typically opening statements are not made for bench trials or jury waived trials.
As a Massachusetts OUI lawyer, the opening statement is the first chance to get the jury on your side and begin to persuade individual jurors to return a not guilty verdict.
If you are a lawyer and are reading this, I encourage you to like our DelSignore Law Facebook page. Here, we post information about a variety of training programs for lawyers along with other educational tools. Click on the Facebook icon below- it will take you directly to our page.
For a summary of our recent not guilty verdicts across the state of Massachusetts, read more here.