Utah DUI Bench Trial
If you have been accused of driving under the influence (DUI) in Utah and are interested in fighting your charges, you may face one of two types of trials: bench or jury. While a jury trial is decided by a group of your peers, a bench trial is both heard and decided by the judge. Making a decision regarding which trial is best for your particular situation can be complicated, so working with a qualified Utah DUI lawyer is advised.
Advantages of a Bench Trial
A bench trial has several advantages over a jury trial. For example, because there is no jury selection phase, a bench trial may begin faster than a jury trial. In addition, a jury trial may take longer during deliberation, because the jurors must all come to a consensus on the verdict; however, a judge could make a ruling right after the closing arguments without taking time to deliberate.
DUI is a complex legal field; therefore, going to a bench trial may be better if there are any legal issues in your case that need to be addressed. When a judge uncovers a legal matter that is affecting your case, he or she can easily resolve it. If your case goes before a jury, they must not only have the legal savvy to spot these issues but must also bring them before the judge for resolution.
A bench trial may also be the best option for your case if there are any embarrassing aspects of your DUI that could affect the jury's decision. For example, if you made any inappropriate or racial statements to the officer during your arrest, you may wish to keep others from hearing about them.
Disadvantages of a Bench Trial
There may be some disadvantages to choosing a bench trial. While a group of jurors may be more sympathetic to your case, you could lose that emotional aspect when a judge decides your verdict. In addition, your chances of an appeal may be reduced if your case was decided by a judge, since he or she is more experienced with the technical aspects of a DUI than a jury and it will be harder to find fault with the verdict.
Obtain Legal Representation Today
If you are interested in taking your DUI to trial in order to avoid a conviction, you need an attorney on your side who has experience with the Utah courts. We have helped a number of clients who have been in your shoes at one point obtain the outcome they desired.