Step By Step California DUI Guide: Jury Trial

This is part four of a step by step guide to help those recently arrested for DUI charges in California. All four steps are available here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Most people think that DUI cases can’t be defended. That once you’ve been arrested for a DUI and you blow above the limit that there is nothing that can be done and you should go to court and plead guilty. However, in my experience as both a prosecutor and an attorney I would suggest that there is a lot that can be done to defend these cases. In a lot of cases I can reduce a DUI case to a lesser charge or possibly litigate the terms that are attached to a DUI, or even in some cases achieve a dismissal. In any event, it is important to meet with an experienced California DUI attorney in order to access the specific facts of your case.

If you are planning to fight your California DUI charges in court, we highly recommend that you seek counsel from a drunk driving attorney that you trust. Once a judgment is made there is very little that anyone can do to modify your sentence.

Is a DUI Jury Trial Right For Me?

More often than not, the prosecution is not willing to risk letting a DUI offender go completely unpunished, which is a real possibility anytime a DUI jury trial is held. The amount of evidence available to prosecute the defendant could be substantial, but if your attorney deems your case defensible, the odds of success could be in your favor.

The unpredictable nature of a trial can be appealing to some and terrifying for others. Personally, I relish any opportunity to defend persons facing DUI charges in a court of law. Too often, law enforcement officials violate our client’s constitutional rights during the course of their investigations. In these instances we have been able to obtain case dismissals and not guilty verdicts on their behalf.

The majority of our clients that face DUI charges are ready to fight. Before pleading not guilty and entering into a trial, defendants should ask themselves three important questions:

What Does My Attorney Think?

  • Shocking, I know. An attorney advising alleged DUI offenders to ask for their attorney’s advice. Regardless of the amount of irony involved, a DUI defense attorney is more familiar with your chances of success in trial than almost any other asset you likely have available. I can only hope that those who are planning or considering going to trial have at least consulted with a California DUI lawyer. What may seem to be obvious evidence that you are not guilty of driving while under the influence may not be as influential as you think. Prosecutors have spent years studying law in the hopes of perfecting methods of securing convictions against DUI defendants. The decision to go to trial should ultimately be yours, but to completely ignore the guidance of a skilled trial attorney under these circumstances may be a huge mistake.

What Plea Bargain Options are Available?

  • Prosecutors do not like to lose. If the prosecution feels that you and/or your attorney are in a position to successfully fight the charges brought against you, there should be an opportunity to negotiate a plea bargain at some point between your arrest and trial. Through a plea bargain, the defendant is offered a favorable case outcome that allows them to avoid trial, costly fines, and exorbitant attorney fees by accepting relatively minimal punishment. This allows the prosecution to secure a win without the risk. If there is a favorable plea bargain available, or you have yet to discuss plea bargains with the prosecution, there may be an opportunity for you to avoid trial through a mutual agreement. Having previously worked as a prosecuting attorney I can say from experience that those represented by well-known, successful DUI attorneys are considered to be in a better position to win if they go to trial. This as well as the negotiating skills of your attorney can help you receive a very favorable plea bargain.

Do I have Enough Money?

  • Unfortunately, going to trial can cost thousands of dollars in DUI attorney’s fees. If your case is unsuccessful, you will have to pay your attorney’s fees as well as the fines imposed upon you during sentencing.

There are several other factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to go to trial, the most important being whether or not you have a good chance of success. This is hard to determine and will most likely require an in-depth case evaluation from a skilled DUI trial lawyer, but even then it will be objective. Different attorneys will have different opinions as to your chances of success. In the end, you will have to decide whether the risks involved in going to trial outweigh the penalties you will receive if you do not. If you do not have a clear understanding of the risks and/or the penalties you will face if you avoid trial, you are not in the best position to make that decision. It is extremely important to be fully informed of your options before moving forward with trial.

What to Expect at Trial

Those facing trial should be made aware of the cut-throat nature of pursuing a not-guilty verdict in a court of law. You can expect prosecutors to expose any criminal activity that you have been a part of in your past and do whatever they can to taint your image in the eyes of the jurors. When you go to trial, you are waging war, and you should expect to get your hands dirty and your ego bruised throughout the duration of your trial.

The following are the common components of every DUI jury trial that takes place in California:

  • Selection of the Jury
  • Opening Statements by the Prosecution and Defense
  • The Prosecution’s Case
  • The Defense’s Case
  • Closing Statements by the Prosecution and Defense
  • Verdict
  • Defendant Sentencing

California DUI Defense

Defendants preparing for earlier stages of the California DUI process are invited to view and take advantage of our other resources that we have made available to help better inform those facing charges:

DMV Hearing

DUI Arraignment

DUI Plea Bargains

Our team of highly skilled California DUI defense attorneys are available to fight for a not guilty verdict, or obtain a case dismissal on your behalf. Let us expose law enforcement’s violation of your rights and help you obtain a not guilty verdict. Call (888) 250-2865 to obtain a free case evaluation and get help now.