The DUI Trial Process
By: Chris Kramer
The possibility of a plea bargain or dismissal of the DUI charges against you may eliminate the need for a DUI trial. However, these options are not always possible, and your DUI case may go to trial.
Keep reading to learn about some common parts of the typical DUI trial.
If you want to speak with a local DUI attorney right away about how to right your case at trial, complete the free form on this page and we'll connect you right away.
By understanding the steps and stages of a DUI trial, you may be able to reduce your anxiety and fear about the process. The following procedures are generally followed during a DUI trial:
Motions in Limine
The motions in limine period is when motions are brought up before a DUI jury trial begins. The purpose is to allow the judge to rule on items of evidence that will be brought up during the trial. Your drunk driving lawyer may bring a number of motions before the judge during this period.
In most states, DUI trials are argued in front of a jury. The jury is selected after the pretrial motions in limine are resolved. Jury selection is an important process because the jury will decide your guilt or innocence on the DUI charge.
During the jury selection process, your DUI lawyer and the prosecutor will be allowed to question potential jurors. If it is determined that a juror cannot be fair and impartial, he or she will not be seated on the jury.
When a DUI trial begins, the prosecution and defense will each have the option to make opening statements. The prosecutor will make the first opening statement because the state has the burden of proof. Next, your DUI lawyer will either make an opening statement or choose to wait and deliver the opening statement after the prosecutor concludes his or her case.
Cases Brought Forward
When the opening statements are concluded, the cases are brought forward.
- The Prosecution's CaseThe prosecution will bring its case against you first. This will include examining any witnesses and presenting any evidence to the jury. Witnesses may include the arresting officer and experts on blood alcohol content or testing. The evidence may include your blood alcohol content testing results and police dash cam videos. Your DUI lawyer will usually cross-examine any witnesses that the prosecution puts on the stand.
- The Defense's Case
Next, your DUI lawyer will present evidence to the jury. Your DUI lawyer may make a motion to dismiss the case on the basis of insufficient evidence. If this motion is denied, he or she will go forward with your defense. You may testify on your own behalf, but this means the prosecution will have the opportunity to question you during cross-examination. The prosecution will also have the opportunity to cross-examine any other witnesses that testify on your behalf.
After both sides finish presenting their cases, each will have the opportunity to make a closing argument. Your DUI lawyer will deliver the first closing argument and explain to the jury that the evidence in your case is insufficient to support a conviction. The prosecution will then deliver a closing argument to the jury.
After the closing arguments, the judge will read instructions to the jury that then retires to deliberate the case.
In every state that allows jury trials in DUI cases, all jurors must agree on guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict. If reasonable doubt of your guilt exists, you are entitled by law to a verdict of 'not guilty.' If all jurors are not convinced of your guilt and a unanimous decision cannot be reached, the jury is considered 'hung,' and the DUI charges may be dismissed.
Get In Touch With a DUI Lawyer
If you are facing a DUI trial, contact a local DUI lawyer. Your attorney can speak with you about the specifics of your case and develop plans to fight the DUI charges.
Connect with a local DUI lawyer by filling out our free DUI case evaluation or calling 877-349-1311 to schedule a free consultation without obligation.
The above summary is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice, and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your state.