Why Would a DUI Case Go to Trial: Understanding the Factors
Most DUI cases often get resolved short of trial, with only 2% of the DUI cases across the country going to trial. Usually, the prosecutor may give the defendant a non-DUI resolution that the defendant may want to try, avoiding the potential risks of a DUI trial.
However, in some cases, the prosecutors may require the defendant to plead the charge, and the attorney representing the defendant may suggest going to trial. In such situations, although there is a possibility of receiving a harsher penalty, the defendant does not have much to lose by going to trial.
Criminal defense attorneys at Sparks Law Firm have extensive experience helping defendants in DUI cases in Fort Worth, Texas. They understand the implications of the DUI and help drivers learn more about their legal options.
Those facing DUI charges in Fort Worth, Texas, must schedule a free consultation with experienced criminal defense attorneys from Sparks Law Firm.
Why Would a DUI Case Go to Trial
Whether or not a DUI case goes to trial depends on the defendant and the conversation they have with their defense attorney. If the defense attorney believes that they have enough evidence in favor of the defendant, they may discuss it with their client and give them the confidence to plead "not guilty" and head to trial.
However, in cases where the defense attorney believes that there is substantial evidence against their client, they will fight for a lesser sentence (plea deal) for the defendant and discuss the situation with them.
There are several reasons why a DUI case could go to trial, including the following.
When the prosecutors have inadequate evidence, it can be a strong reason for most DUI attorneys to push for DUI trials. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the DUI lawyer could challenge the procedure, the blood test reliability, or the testimony at trial.
For example, if law enforcement failed to follow the chain of custody, our DWI lawyers could challenge the troubling gaps and have the blood test result evidence removed from the trial, resulting in a dismissal of the case.
It could be possible that the breathalyzer used by a law enforcement officer was not calibrated correctly, affecting the BAC test results, or that the person who took the blood sample for a blood test was not legally certified to do so.
In such situations, the DUI attorney may have substantial grounds for going to trial where they may argue that the evidence is not sufficient to support a conviction.
When conducting breathalyzer tests, the police do not require a warrant, but if the police need an individual to take the blood test, they must produce a warrant before asking the driver.
Under the Fourth Amendment, every American has protection against illegal searches and seizures, and the Supreme Court upholds the view that the police need a warrant for taking blood tests as it falls under illegal searches and seizures.
In cases where the police officers pulled the defendant over without probable cause and required them to take the blood test without showing a warrant, a DUI attorney may consider taking the case to trial as the officers violated the defendant's right under the Fourth Amendment.
Another example of police misconduct that could be grounds for going to trial is suppressing evidence in favor of the defendant or making false statements in the report. Such actions can lead to a case dismissal, or if the DUI attorney has substantial evidence to prove that the law enforcement is making false statements, they may want to go to trial. Sparks Law Frim can also provide insight on what DUI classes are like.
Plea Bargaining Disagreements
When the attorney gets involved in a DUI case, they often negotiate a better deal for the defendant. In such situations, the prosecutors may want to offer a plea deal to the defendant where they would plead guilty and receive a lesser charge. However, the case could go to trial if the defendant does not take the plea agreement.
Defendant's Refusal to Plead Guilty
In cases where the defendant refuses to take the plea deal despite the strong evidence of DUI against them and their prior criminal history, they may want to stand before the jury trial in hopes of a favorable outcome.
Lack of Acceptable Plea Bargain
If the defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence and there is no willingness on behalf of the prosecutor to reduce the charges or offer a plea deal, the defendant may consider going to trial. It may be better than simply accepting what the prosecutor is offering.
Most DUI cases often resolve outside of trial, with the defense attorney negotiating with the prosecutor for a lesser charge if the defendant pleads guilty. It helps save time and resources on both sides. However, the attorney may recommend a DUI trial depending on the circumstances surrounding the DUI arrest or the case.
It is best for an individual facing DUI charges to contact experienced criminal defense attorneys to discuss their case following their DUI arrest.
What to Expect If the Case Goes to Trial
When going to trial, there are a few things to expect, including the following:
Trial by judge or jury: When a criminal case goes to trial, the defendant has the right to choose between trial by judge or jury. However, in most cases, the defendant waives their right to a jury trial, and a judge decides the case. Typically, an attorney will prefer a jury trial unless the charges are minor violations.
Picking a jury: The process of selecting a jury can be lengthy. Both the defense and prosecution have the opportunity to question potential jurors and dismiss those they don't want to serve on the jury until both sides agree on a fair and impartial jury.
Opening statements at trial: The trial begins with opening statements from both sides to introduce the jurors to the case. The prosecutor will explain how they intend to prove the charges, while the defense will establish how they will present their evidence and witnesses.
Presenting evidence: During the trial, the prosecution has the burden of proof to provide substantial evidence and prove without a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. The prosecution will present evidence and testimony, while the defense can cross-examine witnesses or present their own evidence.
Closing arguments: At the end of the trial, both sides will review the evidence and witness statements before making their closing arguments. The prosecutor and defense will explain their interpretation of the evidence and why the jury should rule in their favor.
Jury deliberations: After closing arguments, the jury will reach a verdict based on the evidence presented during the trial. The judge will provide the relevant laws to the jury, who will then make their decision. The foreperson will read the verdict in court, and if the defendant is found guilty, they will face the charges. However, if it is a not guilty verdict, the defendant will leave the courtroom without a conviction.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Sparks Law Firm
Those facing a DUI charge must contact Sparks Law Firm at (817) 381-7846 and schedule a free initial consultation with experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Worth, Texas, to discuss their case or seek legal answers.
Many DUI attorneys avoid taking cases to trial, but criminal defense lawyers at Sparks Law Firm have extensive trial experience and are not afraid to represent defendants in the courtroom.