What Happens At The DUI Trial?
The average length of a DUI trial is usually three to five days. Most trials are jury trials versus court or judge trials. The reason for that is because in a jury trial, there are 12 people who have to agree on the verdict whereas in a judge trial, only one person has to make the decision. Therefore, it is much more advantageous for an individual to have a jury trial versus a court trial.
The jury trial commences with the selection of 12-people the attorney and client feel would be the most favorable to listen to the evidence. Once a jury has been chosen, the prosecution makes an opening statement which is an explanation of what they are going to prove. More often than not the defense will also make an opening statement explaining the difficulties in the prosecution’s argument. However, in some cases the defense may reserve or hold their opening statement until they begin their case.
The prosecution will then put on their case. Generally the arresting police officer will describe the stop, the chemist will describe the accuracy of the alcohol test, and any other potential witnesses that observed the driving of the accused will testify. It is then the opportunity for the defense to put on witnesses. Usually their own expert to rebut the fact that the accuracy of the alcohol test is not 100% but is in fact in question. The defendant is also then called as a witness since he or she can explain the factual situation better than anyone else.
After all evidence has been presented, the prosecution and the defense will each have an opportunity to make closing arguments and the prosecutor has one more chance to make a rebuttal argument. The reason they get two bites of the apple, so to speak, is because their burden of proof is extremely high, that being proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The highest burden in any type of case. The jury will then deliberate and then return a verdict.
Is Pre-Trial Counseling Or Treatment Recommended?
Since the majority of the cases are resolved short of trial, an attorney will want to place the client in a position that is most favorable to a disposition with the prosecutor. The most significant way to do that is to have the client take action for his behavior, whether that be a treatment program or perhaps AA meetings. This allows the attorney to explain to the prosecutor and the judge not that the individual is guilty, but that the client understands that there is an issue that needs to be addressed and that he or she is addressing it.
Because the client is addressing it on his or her own, it is less critical that the prosecutor or the judge address that behavior. Often, clients say, “Well, won’t the judge think I’m guilty if I start taking some kind of drug class?”
That is not true. All judges and all prosecutors understand that the commencement of some type of treatment does not equal an admission of guilt and therefore, it’s critical to start that process as soon as possible.
Once Someone Is Convicted Of A DUI, Is The Penalty Going To Be Harsher Than What Was Offered In The Plea Deal?
If someone is found guilty at trial, then any initial offer of a reduced sentence or charge is no longer on the table. That person will be sentenced according to the charge that he or she is convicted of. The only situation where the individual would be penalized for going to trial versus pleading straight to the charge is where the judge believes that he is lying. If the judge comes to that conclusion, then the court will most likely increase the punishment that is given due to that behavior.
What Are Some Reasons That May Cause The Dismissal Of A DUI Case?
The most frequent situation in which a DUI case is dismissed is when the blood alcohol level is either so low that the prosecutor cannot prove it, or there is such difficulty proving that the accuracy of the blood alcohol level is correct. That could be either because the breath machine had been malfunctioning, or it could be because the blood was re-examined by the defense’s laboratory and the result came back significantly lower than that of the prosecution. In those situations, it’s a burden of proof that the prosecution can’t meet because of the difficulties with the case.
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