If there is sufficient evidence to charge a person with driving under the influence, a DUI arraignment is held to allow the accused to enter a plea. If the prosecution does not offer a plea bargain or the accused chooses to plead not guilty, the case will move to a DUI trial in front of a jury.
Before the Trial
If your DUI lawyer is able to dismantle the prosecution’s case — for example by proving of lack of due process or a defective breathalyzer — the charge may be dropped during the trial. In some cases, such as those involving a plea bargain agreement, a DUI trial may be avoided altogether.
There is a lot of work that goes into preparing for a DUI trial. The legal team from your law firm can help you get ready by evaluating your case with a fine tooth comb, by searching for ways to build reasonable doubt in the jurors’ minds and garner empathy. Your DUI lawyer will also have the opportunity to question the jurors to ensure an impartial, fair jury and excuse any jurors which may be biased.
What Happens During a DUI Trial
After the prosecution addresses the court, your lawyer will make an opening statement that gives an overview of your situation.
During the presentation of the prosecution’s case, the prosecutor will highlight the evidence against you and call witnesses, including your arresting officer. Your lawyer may cross-examine the witnesses in attempt to weaken the credibility of their testimony.
Next, your lawyer will present the defense case to the jury. You may speak on your behalf, and witnesses may be called. The prosecution can cross-examine the witnesses, including you.
At each stage, your attorney may request a dismissal of charges if the prosecution’s case is particularly weak.
Finally, both sides will present closing arguments. Jurors must reach a guilty verdict for sentencing to commence. If your attorney did a good job of establishing reasonable doubt, the jury may return a verdict of not guilty. If the jury does not come to a consensus, a second trial may be scheduled, a plea bargain may be offered, or charges may be dismissed. Your DUI lawyer will walk you through the steps involved and let you know exactly what to expect before your trial date.
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