If you're charged with drunk driving in Michigan, you may decide to proceed to trial. If you decide to have a trial by jury, the first part of the trial will be jury selection.
Once jury selection is over, the prosecution will make their opening statement, which will generally summarize the date and location when the Defendant was operating a vehicle. From there the prosecution will tell the jury how the police made contact with the Defendant, how they knew the Defendant was driving, and what if anything did the Defendant say to the police. Now the prosecution will talk about any field sobriety tests conducted and ultimately the arrest of the Defendant; once arrested the prosecution will tell the jury about either the DataMaster or blood test result.
Once the prosecution sits down, your attorney will make their opening statement, which will present your theory of the case, problems with the prosecution's case and reminders about the burden of proof. It is important to make a great first impression with the jury, and gain their trust as their leader in examining the evidence.
The most effective method for making an opening statement is through the power of storytelling. Your attorney should fully explore the entire arrest experience from beginning to end to fully understand your story. Opening statement is an excellent time for your attorney to frame the issue and simplify the case for the jury. This is not the time to get defensive about the evidence, but rather put forth a pro-active and optimistic view of the evidence.
One of the most important roles during opening statement is to clearly define the burden of proof, not as "did the accused commit the crime, or not commit the crime", but rather "did the accused commit the crime beyond a reasonable doubt". Criminal trials are not 50/50; there are not two equal options, which the jury must be convinced, but rather only one option (beyond a reasonable doubt), which is either met or not met.
There are circumstances where your attorney may decide to reserve opening statement until the prosecution has rested their case; this is a rare situation, but could be highly effective.
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