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An expert in such situations of discussing the physical and mental conditions of a person must be licensed to practice medicine. The definition of an expert witness details that to be considered an expert, certain qualifications must be met.
The general qualifications that must be met are; someone who has training, experience, and skill. They must also have familiarized themselves with necessary data and must be able to form an opinion that is superior to that of the average person in order to be considered useful to the jury.
An expert witness discussing the physical and mental conditions of a person must therefore have superior knowledge in the way the human body operates. Which means that it is important that in order to make the expert opinion on the human condition, knowledge of the human condition behind a medical degree is necessary.
The type of foundation that would need to be developed in order for a lay witness to offer an opinion that a person was intoxicated is based on the admissibility of a nonexperts witness’ opinion rule. These rules state what type of information can be accepted by nonexperts as opinion.
Those rules state that the offering of opinion is accepted if; the facts were personally observed by the nonexpert witness, when it is difficult to describe facts accurately upon which the opinion is based, the opinion being one that an average person can form accurately and when the opinion is helpful to clear an understanding of the factual issue. If those rules are followed, then it lays the type of foundation needed for a nonexpert opinion to be admissible. Intoxication is also one of ten subjects an opinion can be formed by a nonexpert.
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