Practically everyone has a cell phone with a camera in this day and age, so it does not hurt to record video. This does not necessarily mean it would be something that was used or that it would be something that would have to be turned in to the prosecutor or the officer, but if possible it would be fantastic if the person or someone who was with them could record video. It is not necessary to gather witnesses for a DUI, but if there were witnesses available or if there was a passenger in the vehicle, then it would be a good idea to take note if that little information.
I often recommend my clients and any witnesses or passengers to write their version of the police report, meaning that soon after the incident took place they should write in an email everything they remembered, what they said to the officer, how the officer responded, and anything they can recall about the incident while it is still fresh in their memory. The person should also have their witnesses or passengers, if any, do the same, and email it to them so that there is a timestamp.
It sometimes takes months for these cases to proceed through the system, so when it comes to trial, then a lot of times the prosecutor will try and impeach the person’s memory because so much time had passed. If the person has an account of that day in writing, it would take away the possibility of the prosecutor arguing that the person did not really remember what happened or that they were just trying to fill in the blanks in order to best assist the case.
What Would Be A Good Way To Get A Witness To Help Testify?
An attorney can talk to witnesses. People I meet for a free consultation occasionally bring in their witnesses. It would be a rare situation for a witness to actually need to come into court to testify, although it would be good to know there was a witness out there and what they might have to say.
I ask some witnesses to write a notarized statement which can be presented to the prosecutor, so the prosecutor could see what the witness would testify to if the case were to go to trial. This is sometimes helpful enough to the point that the attorney would be able to negotiate a plea agreement and save their client from the hassle of going to trial and coming into court to testify. It never hurts to have a witness write down statements, either notarized or not, and it does not hurt to have the client do the same.
However, because of our obligation as attorneys, while I would recommend that someone write their own version of a police report and email it to themselves, I do not necessarily think they should automatically email it to the attorney unless the attorney had asked them to do so. It would be okay for clients to write it up and let the attorney know they have done so, but they should wait for the attorney to tell them to forward that email to them, because what is written in it might not be something the attorney would want to know that could harm the case.
Will A Cooperative And Willing Witness Still Get Subpoenaed?
It tends to take a while before a trial takes place and it is always up to the client to decide whether they actually want to go to trial. It isn’t necessary to subpoena a friendly witness, but nonetheless it would usually be a good idea to do so. It would be possible to force someone who was reluctant to testify to come to court by way of a subpoena.
As an attorney, I do what is in the best interest of my client but there might be some conflict. A client might not necessarily want to subpoena a friend because he would not want to bother or annoy them. I often have to discuss with my clients whether or not a witness should be subpoenaed, or if they should just hope they showed up or if we should find some alternative to having that friend or witness show up to testify, such as getting a written statement.
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