Most DUI cases are resolved prior to going to trial. A DUI trial is the government’s opportunity to argue its case in hopes of obtaining a guilty verdict. A trial also allows the defendant the opportunity to contest the prosecutor’s evidence and assert his/her own defense. At the conclusion of both sides presenting their argument, the judge or a jury will either find the defendant guilty or not guilty. Read on to learn more about Washtenaw County DUI trial overview.
DUI Trial Overview
The following is a brief overview of a DUI trial:
1. Jury Selection
Jury selection is one of the first stages in the DUI trial process. The prosecution and defense will select jury members (local Ann Arbor/Washtenaw county residents). The jury will ultimately determine the relevant facts of the case. The judge will ensure the jury applies the correct law to the evidence in the case. As an alternative to a jury trial, you may choose to have a bench trial in which the judge serves as both the finder of fact and law.
2. Opening Statements
The prosecutor and defense attorney will be provided the opportunity to make an opening statement. Each side will inform the judge or jury what they believe the evidence will show. The prosecutor or defense attorney may not make arguments about the case when making an opening statement.
3. Witness Testimony & Cross Examination
The prosecutor and defense attorney will present witness testimony to support their case. Witness testimony can take the form of field sobriety test results, chemical test results, and eyewitness testimony of the police officer. The prosecutor and defense attorney will be provided the opportunity to cross-examine all witness testimony.
4. Closing Arguments
Both parties will tell the judge or jury what they believe the evidence did or did not show. The attorneys can argue the facts of the case.
5. Jury Delibe & Verdict
The jury will deliberate for a period of time and return with a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
Defendant Trial Etiquette
1. Arrive Early
Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your appointed trial time. This will allow you time to meet with your attorney and review trial strategies and ask any last minute questions. If you arrive prior to your attorney, remain calmly seated in the courtroom. Inform the bailiff that you are waiting to appear with your attorney for the scheduled trial. Never arrive late for your trial. This will definitely upset the judge which is the last thing you want to do. As soon as your case is called, stand up alongside your attorney to address the judge.
2. Dress to Impress
Your personal appearance will say a lot about you. Dress in formal business attire. I personally do not judge my clients based on their appearance; however, the judge will. It is always smart to make a good first impression.
3. Maintain a Positive Attitude
The prosecutor may make statements to attack your credibility and behavior. Do not allow such remarks to upset you. Maintain a positive attitude throughout the duration of the trial. Never say anything without first consulting with your attorney. Remember, you can exercise your right to remain silent at all times. You do not have to testify at trial.
I invite you to contact me to discuss your drunk driving case. I can review your case and provide you with legal guidance and advice on how to proceed. Do not delay in contacting an attorney for representation. Delaying such an important call can damage your case.