Inside a Jury Trial
Many accused drunk drivers are nervous about the prospect of taking their cases to trial. However, taking a DUI / DWI case before a jury often offers a driver the best opportunity to see a favorable outcome to the case. Understanding how jury trials are conducted can ease the concerns of individuals accused of drinking and driving. An experienced defense lawyer from www.NotDrunk.com will explain the workings of jury trials and how a favorable outcome can reduce or even eliminate the consequences of a drinking and driving arrest.
All criminal trials, including DUI / DWI trials, have certain elements in common. The trial process begins with the submission of pretrial motions, or motions in limine. The next phase is jury selection, where a select number of impartial jurors are chosen. During jury selection, both the defense attorney and the prosecutor examine the prospective jurors, in a process known as voir dire to each individual’s suitability for jury service. Some jurors will be excused “for cause” in what is known as a peremptory challenge
Once a jury has been chosen, both the prosecutor and the defense attorney give opening statements. A skilled defense attorney will use this opportunity to impress upon the jurors that the prosecutor carries the burden of proving every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. He or she will usually also ask jurors to keep an open mind.
After opening statements, testimony in the case begins. Each side will examine and cross-examine witnesses and experts. The prosecution witnesses in a drinking and driving trial typically include the arresting officer and a forensic pathologist from a police lab who will testify about the driver’s chemical test results. An experienced DUI / DWI defense lawyer will have an independent expert explain to the jury that the driver’s chemical test results are open to interpretation. The defense attorney may or may not have the driver testify on his or her own behalf.
Once all of the witnesses have testified, both sides will deliver their closing arguments. This gives both the defense lawyer and prosecutor a chance to summarize their cases to the jury. Once each side has rested its case, jury deliberations begin. Finally, if the jury is able to reach a verdict, it will be announced, and a defendant who is found guilty will then be sentenced.
All criminal defendants have the right to a speedy and public trial. How much time can elapse before trial begins varies from state to state and depends on whether the defendant is in or out of custody. The defendant may choose to waive the time requirement to give his or her criminal defense DUI / DWI attorney time to adequately investigate the case and file necessary pretrial motions.
Many drunk driving defendants wonder if it’s worth it to take their cases to trial. It’s important to remember that a drinking and driving case can be fought and won. A skilled DUI / DWI criminal defense lawyer from www.NotDrunk.com has the experience and knowledge to protect the driver’s rights at trial.