Texas DWI Convictions Being Scrutinized

Defense attorneys and DWI convicts are throwing up their hands in Harris County as a new revelations shows that ten years worth of testimony by a prosecution expert may be tainted. This is the result of the prosecutor’s office admitting that an expert relied on in hundreds of DWI cases misstated her qualifications to testify.

According to reports, for the last ten years the Harris County’s District Attorney office has used a particular expert to testify about toxicology reports to convict people of DWI. During that time she has testified to have a Master of Science in Toxicology, when in fact she has a Master of Science in Physiological Science with some coursework in toxicology.

At this point some may think that such a distinction is splitting hairs, but is it? Anyone who has spent a large portion of their life to achieve an advanced degree would readily know what degree it was they got. It would be difficult, especially in court, to testify to getting one kind of degree, when in fact it was a different degree with a different title a person received.

A cynical approach to this story would say that while it is possible this was an innocent mistake, why did the expert not correct it when asked about it on the stand? That is just one of the questions that will have to be answered as hundreds of cases are being scrutinized in the wake of these revelations.

The Value of Expert Testimony

The backbone of any DWI case at trial is the testimony of experts. The reason is because when the police do a blood alcohol content test, it takes specialized tools and knowledge to interpret the results of those tests, and explain how the result are made. This can only be accomplished in a court of law by an expert whose job it is to testify about the results and help a lay jury understand why the results processes used to get the results are accurate and true.

Not just anyone can qualify as an expert in a particular field. First, the proposed expert must testify to the court about her qualifications and reasons for being considered an expert. If a judge is satisfied that a witness can be classified as an expert on a particular subject, then she is deemed an expert and will testify in front of a jury. A key component of that process is the education and background of the witness as a consideration of whether she should be considered an expert.

In this instance every time the woman in question testified in a trial she would have stated her education background and certifications. It is hard to believe she would have got it wrong so many times without some reason for doing it. Now it will be it the hands of those convicted to try an make a case why their convictions should be looked at again, or even tossed because of the mixup.

This all came about because of an aggressive defense attorney who grilled this expert on her qualifications while at trial. That type of approach is indispensable for those facing DWI charges in Texas. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm that is the approach we take on behalf of our clients. In fact, if you are facing DWI charges, contact us today. We will give you a free case evaluation and help you understand what your legal options are.