Thursday, July 17, 2014

Kinds of Witnesses: A Focus on Expert Witnesses

All kinds of legal proceedings require a witness’s account to tie up all details and make sense of documents that have been gathered through a subpoena to compile evidences. There are times, however, when the narration of an ordinary witness, or even the impeachment of a hostile witness, is not enough to make judges and jurors understand certain facts and issues that involve highly technical or specialized forms of knowledge. This is where expert witnesses come in.

An expert witness can be any professional who is regarded as a respected member in their field. Expert witnesses are more commonly called in for cases involving, but are not limited to, personal injury or criminal cases wherein their testimonies are deemed to be vital in shedding light on matters involving medical science, toxicology, and other related specializations.

There are some things that distinguish an expert witness from the other types of witnesses. Expert witnesses are not necessarily related to any party in the cases where they are giving their testimony. Another distinction is that they are the only kind of witnesses allowed by the general rules of court to give opinion and draw conclusions as long as it is related to their field of expertise. Their objectivity and specialized knowledge make them vital in winning a case for or against plaintiffs in a personal injury lawsuit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pegging BAC Levels at DUI Cases

One of the most significant pieces of evidence presented in a driving under the influence (DUI) case will be the suspect’s blood alcohol content (BAC). The BAC level is often determined in a breathalyzer test, but the numbers are not just markers. They can also help identify how impaired the suspect was from the drinking. A forensic toxicology professional may assist pegging the degree, and all states will have an associated threshold.

Persons with a BAC of between 0.06% and 0.10% often experience problems with depth perception, reasoning, and vision, as well as lowered levels of pleasure. Speech slurs, slower reflexes, and mood swings are hallmarks of BACs between 0.11% and 0.20%. You may have witnessed incidents where the drunk suspect forcefully brushed off people and groggily insisted nothing was wrong with them.

BACs of 0.21% up to 0.29% trigger potential memory blackouts, loss of consciousness, and seriously impaired sensations. People should watch out if the BAC cracked the 0.30% barrier, however. The suspect can be flitting in and out of consciousness, depressed, or is close to death because of drops in the heart rate.

Determining the BAC and the associated effects will make a difference in building a case against the suspect. The police will also assist with other facts.