DeKalb County DUI Jury Trials
Preparing for a trial is never an easy task to undertake. A Defendant must decide whether they should have their case heard by a jury, where six citizens decide the case, or heard by a judge at a bench trial, where the judge decides whether the State has proven their case.. When making this decision, charged individuals should work with an attorney to examine the evidence and make their decision based on the facts of the case.
If you wish to learn more about what to expect from DeKalb County DUI jury trials, be sure to get in touch with a legal professional at Hawkins Spizman today.
Difference Between a Bench Trial and a Jury Trial
The main difference between bench trials and jury trials is who gets to make the final decision regarding the defendant’s guilt. In a bench trial, the judge would be the entity deciding whether a person is guilty or not guilty. On the other hand, a jury trial is heard in front of a jury, where six citizens have the power to deliver the final verdict.
Many judges are capable of making sound legal decisions without being swayed by emotions. The defense may benefit from having a judge decide the case if there is a technical legal defense. In most DUI cases, however, a jury is most likely to be the better option, as DUI is historically among the most over-charged offenses by the police.
Common Traits of DUI Cases That Would Benefit from a Jury Trial
If there is a case for reasonable doubt, such as challenging whether the defendant had consumed enough alcohol to impair them from driving a vehicle, the defense lawyer may suggest allowing the DUI case to be decided by a jury.
If there is video evidence portraying the defendant as someone who looks in control of their motor skills, is not slurring their words, and overall acting responsibly, a fair argument could be made that they were not impaired by alcohol. Yes, they consumed alcohol, but maybe they were not impaired by it.
Benefits of Having a Jury Trial
One benefit of a jury trial in a DUI case is, in theory, they have a group of their peers that do not have formalized education in DUI cases to decide the facts of the case. Juries can also be sympathetic at times. There is a human element that can play in their decision.
Juries also consist of six people that must come to the same conclusion. If five people out of the six believe that the defendant is guilty, and one person feels like they are not guilty, then the defendant may not be convicted of a DUI. It will be referred to as a hung jury and a mistrial will be declared by the judge.
Downsides of a Jury Trial
Judges will often treat a defendant more harshly if they have a jury trial. It is quite possible a judge might accept a negotiated outcome that does not include any kind of jail time, but if they go to trial and are unsuccessful, it is absolutely possible that the judge may decide that putting a Defendant in jail is the appropriate resolution. A judge cannot punish a person for exercising their right to a trial, but they can benefit a person who pleads guilty rather than putting the State to the expense of a jury trial.
Benefits of Working with an Attorney
Working with a lawyer when deciding whether to take a case to trial could result in you making a sound and sensible decision that would benefit your case. The legal professionals at Hawkins Spizman understands the habits of certain judges, prosecutors, and jury panels. As a result, their insight is worth having on your case.
To speak with a lawyer for more information regarding DeKalb County DUI jury trials, call today to schedule a consultation.