by | last updated on January 19, 2016
As of July 1, 2013, Florida law changed regarding the admissibility of expert testimony.  Prior to the law change, Florida was one of eight states following the old Frye standard.  Frye focused on whether the underlying scientific principles were sufficiently established and whether they had gained general acceptance in the scientific community.Florida’s new law is found in section 90.702 which was amended to eliminate the Frye standard.  The law change means that Florida courts will have to apply what is known as the Daubert standard.  The Daubert standard comes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1993 decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Under Florida’s new law governing the admissibility of expert evidence, trial court judges will have to determine whether expert testimony satisfies Daubert and Federal Rule of Evidence 702, and apply the federal three prong test for determining whether expert testimony is admissible.

Expert witness testimony will now be admissible if such testimony is:

(1) based on sufficient facts or data;

(2) the product of reliable methods and principles; and

(3) the expert witness has applied those principles and methods reliably to the facts in the case.

Of course, it must still be determined whether the evidence will assist the trier of fact in deciding the matter, and whether or not the expert is properly qualified .

An expert is properly qualified so long as they have specialized knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education.

For clients accused of DUI, the new law has several implications.

First, people who are administered the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus have a new tool to challenge the abmissibility of the results.

Second, otherwise admissible breath test results will not be admissible unless the state can show that the test results are the product of reliable methods and principles.

Under the new law, prior to the being able to introduce their evidence, prosecutors will have to prove that the evidence is reliable and based upon valid science.  Both the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) and the Intoxilyzer are so-called scientific tests which would therefore have to survive a challenge under the new law.

A properly trained and experienced DUI defense attorney should know how to raise challenges to the reliability of the State’s evidence.

Getting arrested for DUI can be a life changing experience.  In many cases beating a DUI depends on the quality of your attorney.  To help you make smart decisions when it comes to hiring a DUI defense lawyer, click here to get an instant download of my FREE consumer guide How to Choose a DUI Lawyer in FloridaMake sure you know how to spot a lazy lawyer who is asleep at the wheel before you hire any lawyer.

If you have any questions, Please feel welcome to call me to discuss your situation.  I am here to help you.