AV Preeminent
The Florida Bar

The Tactical Decision to Reserve Opening at Trial

The reserving of an opening statement in first offender DUI Trials cannot be overstated when it comes to tactical advantages enjoyed by the simple, yet often overlooked strategical option

Many assistant state attorney’s charged with prosecuting first-time DUI offenders simply lack the experience required to anticipate a defense attorney’s reserving of an opening statement. This often results in a flustered prosecution of the claims asserted by the state. Furthermore, by reserving opening, a DUI defense attorney puts a prosecutor on center stage from the onset and effectively prohibits them from catching their breath until the conclusion of their case in chief.

This requires a DUI Prosecutor to present key witnesses earlier than expected. crucial time that may mean the difference between a voluntary dismissal when pressed by a frustrated county court judge

More importantly is the fact that by reserving an opening statement, defense counsel learns the entirety of the prosecution’s case and is able to use the evidence presented in the state’s case in chief in conjunction with what evidence is anticipated to be provided by the testifying defendant. The result is an opening statement that mirrors argument which under the circumstances is legally permissible when framed correctly.

The issue of recency was a heavily litigated subject years ago resulting in the defenses loss of the “sandwich” in closing argument. By reserving an opening statement a bifurcated closing is practically pointless.

In this State of Arrest Podcast learn a few of the most beneficial tactical advantages enjoyed by DUI defense attorneys who choose not to follow the traditional criminal trial framework when it comes to defending allegations in a jury trial setting.

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