People are often so angry at the officer who arrested them that their first instinct is to attempt to hire a defense attorney who will berate and attack that officer at trial.
They want to hire “an aggressive lawyer”.
They want their lawyer to be like Mike Tyson, back in the day, flying out of his corner at the opening bell to blindly and brutally beat the officer into submission until he confesses that his entire story is a pack of lies concocted to convict an innocent defendant. In the movies and on television, juries love these lawyers and liberally offer up acquittals. That is not real life. In fact, that is the stuff of self-destructive behavior.
That type of “aggressive lawyer” may make you feel good for the moment, the onslaught heaped upon the officer. But, that type of “aggressive lawyer” is virtually guaranteed to lose your trial.
OUI trials usually involve two government witnesses, the officer and the State’s chemist. These cases are usually tried to a jury. Most jurors initially view the officer as a person doing an often thankless public service, serving and protecting them and their families. There are not pre-disposed to distrust these public servants.
The outcome, the verdict, in an OUI jury trial largely depends on whom the jurors like and trust the most. The jurors will trust the attorney who presents the best case through the presentation of evidence (including scientific evidence), through cross examination of the government’s witnesses and through a thorough and honest analysis of the evidence. Jurors do not trust defense lawyers who attempt to bludgeon all government witnesses without any knowledge or facts to back up their attacks. Bullying is not a likeable trait. Bullying without any relevant factual content is downright despicable in the eyes and minds of jurors.
Knowledge Will Win an OUI Case Not Theatrics
Jurors will like the defense lawyer who treats all witnesses with respect and exhibits proper courtroom decorum with all members of the proceeding, including the judge, court personnel and opposing counsel. Jurors will despise the bloviating attorney and they will take that out on you in a close case. Jurors will trust the attorney who exhibits knowledge of the subject matter (in most our cases, that includes knowledge of scientific and toxicological concepts) and who effectively conveys that knowledge and information to the jurors through cross examination, direct examination and opening and closing arguments. Jurors are seldom, if ever, impressed by courtroom theatrics on the part of attorneys.
The courtroom is not a boxing ring. Rather, it is more like an operating room. Your trial attorney must approach your case, the evidence and witnesses against you with surgical-like precision. Adverse evidence, whether presented by the arresting officer or the government chemist, is better discredited through tactical, respectful, knowledgeable and sometimes humorous cross examination as opposed to bullying, disrespectful and ignorant “aggressive lawyer” tactics.
Clients often ask me, at our initial consultation, “can you be aggressive”? My response is “yes, I can and I will be aggressive. But, I will not be a blowhard and I do not intend to make you feel good by bullying the State’s witnesses.
Rather, I intend to thoroughly examine and challenge the state’s evidence with hard work, superior knowledge, training and skill. Likewise, I will employ that same hard work, superior knowledge, training and skill to present all evidence that is favorable to you in the most effective manner possible. Now let’s get to work”.
If by “aggressive” you mean a rude, combative blowhard, do not hire me. If by “aggressive” you mean dedicated to defending you in the most effective and zealous manner possible, call me for a free consultation at 207-879-4000.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general, not specific, information about Maine law. The publication of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between the author(s) and the reader(s).