While most DUI cases are thrown out or resolved before the trial phase of the criminal justice system, many still make it to this climactic point.
How Does a DUI Trial Work?
The first segment to any criminal trial is jury selection. Aside from a few trials that may only be heard by a judge, jury selection is an integral part of the trail. Juries are selected from a “pool” of potential jurors. They are questioned by prosecution and defense and requests are made to the judge to have certain potential jurors removed. For example, a potential juror who has strong ties with MADD may be dismissed from the jury pool on the basis of having a strong disposition against drunk driving. This may inhibit their ability to conclude a fair verdict of the defendant.
When the trial begins both the prosecution and defense will start with their respective opening statements. The prosecution will generally state key facts against the defendant to establish the reason for trial, and why the defendant needs to be convicted. The defense will argue against prosecution evidence and may make allegations of faulty police work.
After opening statements witness testimony will be presented. The witness is first sworn in and may give testimony or answer questions by the party that called them to the stand. Evidence may also be presented. When they are finished, the opposing party has a chance to cross-examine the witness. This is usually an attempt to discredit the witness’s story and testimony or their credibility.
The final chance to persuade the jury is during the closing arguments. The prosecution will try to prove guilt, the defense will argue to convince innocence. At this point the jury will receive instructions from the judge and may also receive definition of the charges. It is now time for the jury to deliberate and reach a conclusion. It may take a few minutes, it may take many days. Once a verdict has been reached it will be read aloud in the courtroom.
There is also possibility for a mistrial as a result of a “hung” jury. The judge may throw out the case to have it start over, or completely dismissed.
What if my DUI Charge Goes to Trial?
It is very unwise to defend yourself or use a lawyer who does not specialize in only DUI law. A general family attorney may work great for some instances, but a DUI charge is too serious to leave in the hands of a novice. Please contact a DUI attorney and keep your freedom.