Going All the Way
When being charged with a DUI, you have a few options for dealing with your case. Unfortunately, many people aren't aware of their options and plead guilty or no-contest, thinking they have no chance if they choose to fight. But there are other options. You can also hire an attorney to negotiate a plea bargain for you. This allows you to plead guilty to a lesser offense, usually wet reckless driving.
You also have the option to take your case all the way to trial if you don't want to plead guilty to any offense. Going to trial takes more time than the other options, however, and requires you to have a good understanding of the trial process. You should always have an attorney assist you with your case if you decide to go to trial, but here are a few things you need to know to decide if trial is the route you want to take:
You have a right to a speedy trial. This means you will not have to wait too long to have your case tried. DUI trials usually commence within roughly 4-6 weeks of your first court date. In some cases, waiting this extra time to have a chance of having the case dropped is worth it. The trial itself can take anywhere from a day to a week or longer in very complex cases involving multiple charges. But, in the grand scheme of things, this extra time is nothing compared to the time investment of serving a DUI sentence.
A jury will decide whether you are guilty or not guilty, but the judge presides over the trial and will issue the sentence. Normal, everyday people will be reviewing the evidence in your case and coming to a group decision. If you have any hesitation about this, speak to an attorney about your case. Not all cases will have a strong chance at trial. Certain facts or circumstances can put you at a serious disadvantage at trial because juries can hold prejudices and preconceived notions that influence the case decision. Though jurors are selected to be unbiased, the verdict is still very much up in the air. Some people can't deal with the stress of a pending trial, but these people often don't have an attorney who can tell them what to expect.
Trials can be expensive. You will need an attorney to assist you, and you may need to obtain some expert witnesses. You will have to pay these witnesses, but their testimony can have a lot of sway in the jury's decision. If you have an expert witness provide crucial testimony in your case, it may mean the difference between a guilty and not guilty verdict.
Sometimes trials are the only way to fight your charges. If you will suffer serious consequences from a DUI, such as losing your job or even your eligibility to remain in your line of work, you may want to seriously consider trial. When your very career is on the line, it may be well worth it to go to trial.
Trials certainly aren't the best option for someone who is fine with getting a DUI and moving on with their life. People who would suffer severe consequences from a DUI, such as commercial drivers or someone who has to drive to work, may want to consider trial because there is a chance you can walk away with nothing but the charge on your record, and you may be able to have this charge removed later on. This can save your license and your driving record.
Speak with an experienced California DUI defense attorney with trial experience if you are serious about fighting your DUI charges. A DUI trial can take time and resources. Speaking with an attorney can give you an idea of your chance of success. Trial is a valuable constitutional right that many people choose to exercise to have a chance of avoiding the serious consequences of a DUI conviction. An attorney can also advise you of what adversity you may face at trial, what it may take to prove your innocence, and how similar cases have turned out at trial.
Do you have questions about fighting DUI charges? If so, contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team for expert counsel. Experienced in DUI defense, our Visalia area legal team can advise you of your rights and help you fight your charges. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Christopher Martens will aggressively defend your rights and help you get the outcome you want. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.