DUI Lawyer in California – Trial Strategy

Last Modified: August 10, 2023

DUI Lawyer in California – Trial Strategy

  • Overcoming our negative starting position
  • Starting strong with our opening statement
  • Persuasive case themes that might apply to your case
  • Using the “rule of threes” to present memorable arguments
  • Establishing an early lead and holding it to the end of the trial

When you are arrested for drinking and driving, the consequences can be serious. Jurors aren’t always sympathetic to defendants charged with unpopular crimes. In fact, they may be prejudiced to those accused of a DUI charge, especially if the defendant isn’t charismatic or likeable.

We aren’t concerned, however, whether a client is likeable or charismatic, but are instead focused on crafting the best defense possible. When you need a DUI lawyer in California, Summit Defense is the place to turn. We offer a comprehensive trial strategy designed to maintain your innocence.

It’s first important to realize that from the outset you have an uphill battle to climb. Essentially, you are starting in a negative position. Jurors often identify, respect, and trust the testimony of police officers more than those of defendants. It’s our job as a DUI lawyer in California jurisdictions to remind the jury that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. We then go one step further and strive to convince the jurors that, for whatever reason, the state has not met its burden of proof. If a burden of proof is not met, jurors must acquit.

Furthermore, if a defendant is not likeable, one strategy is to get the jurors to like the defense counsel. We must make a good first impression by dressing, acting, and speaking in a professional manner that impresses jurors. We chose our speech and discourse carefully, only after selecting jury candidates that we feel will be receptive to our approach. We vet prospective jurors through a process called Voir Dire. This is the time when a good DUI lawyer in California is allowed to ask prospective jury members open-ended questions. The answers can shed light on their inherent biases, beliefs, background, and more. What it comes down to is picking the right jurors who can help us win your case.


Once a jury is selected and the trial begins, we will have time to deliver an opening statement to the jury. This is a critical point in your case, as it is the time we plant the seed for your innocence. Because each case is different, each opening statement is different. However, we cater our opening statement to your case. A strong opening statement paints a visual scheme of the events that occurred, and tells why they should find you not guilty. At Summit Defense, we provide a DUI lawyer in California who presents their client’s story in a positive light.


A good DUI lawyer in California also has at his or her disposal an arsenal of themed messages they use during the opening and closing statements. While some jurors may be hesitant to return an innocent verdict, we use the ‘do-the-right-thing’ theme to give them moral permission to grant a favorable ruling. We show them that the evidence points to your innocence, and the only right, moral, and just option is to return a not guilty verdict.

We also use the theme of ‘fear, frustration, and futility.’ This theme encourages jurors to reverse a civic wrong performed by police. We explain the our client feared the police when stopped unexpectedly, was frustrated because his nervousness, anxiety, and prior medical condition prevented him from passing a physical field sobriety test; and futility emerged because despite our clients explanations, the police would not listen.

A good DUI lawyer in California will also implement the ‘threes’ theory. This defense proposes that jury members can remember important points given in threes. We often will lay out a first, second, and third point during opening arguments, and then tie them back into our closing arguments. For instance, we may argue that first, our client has a physical injury that caused them to fail the field sobriety test. Second, the breathalyzer used is inaccurate or malfunctioned. Thirdly, the testimony of the police officer is invalid for a variety of reasons. Then, after we present this evidence during trial we will reiterate why these three points are true during closing arguments.


Any good DUI lawyer in California will tell you that a trial is like going to battle. You want to jump ahead of your opponent and maintain the lead. Essentially, you want to take advantage of any and all inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case, plant a seed of doubt, and nurture this seed until it blooms into an innocent verdict. We seek to accomplish this by telling an engaging story that pulls the jury in, and keeps their attention. Once you have their attention, you can establish credibility from the outset. This credibility extends to our client.

From there, a good DUI Lawyer in California will express sincere concern for her or her client, using body language, tone of voice, eye contact, facial expressions, and more. This humanizes the defendant. We strive to make our client more than a face. We strive to make the jury empathize with your plight, which often develops a caring interest in you and your case.

By no means are these tricks of the trade all encompassing, but each one presented here gives you insight to the type of defense we can provide. There are much more tools we utilize to fight for your innocence. For a DUI lawyer in California, call Summit Defense. We fight for you.



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