One of the ways to get a DUI case dismissed before my client has to testify is to ask the court for a directed verdict, also known as a directed finding.
At trial, the prosecutor has the burden of presenting the state’s evidence first. Once the state’s witnesses testify (usually only the arresting police officer), it is then my turn to cross examine the officer. Cross examination means I get to ask questions about anything pertaining to the case or the officer’s experience. Additionally, in cross examination I am allowed to ask leading questions. A leading questions requires a yes or no answer. For example, a leading question to an officer would be, “Did my Client give you his license when you asked for it?”. The officer must answer this question with either a yes or no. I would only ask this question if I know that my client did provide his license without an issue. By asking leading questions, I can make sure the officer only answers the question I ask him. Cross examination usually takes between 45 minutes and up to 3 hours for a DUI case.
Once the state has presented all of its’ witnesses, it is the defense attorney’s turn to put on evidence. However, before it is our turn, I ask the judge to not require us to present any evidence because the state has not presented enough evidence to prove that my client was driving under the influence. This motion is called a Motion for a Directed Verdict or Directed Finding.
For the purpose of this motion, the Judge views all of the evidence and testimony in the light most favorable for the state. This means that the Judge assumes that the evidence and testimony presented by the state was all true.
If the judge believes that (assuming all of the evidence and testimony was true) that there was still not enough evidence for the defense to respond to, the judge will grant a directed verdict and the case will be dismissed.