Utah DUI Trial
If you are thinking about fighting your Utah driving under the influence (DUI) charge, you may be presented with the option to have a bench trial or jury trial. The difference between these two types of trials is that a bench trial is decided by the judge, while a jury trial is decided by a jury of your peers. No matter which type of trial you choose, it is important to work with a qualified Utah DUI lawyer to ensure that an appropriate defense is prepared for court.
DUI Jury Trial Process
If you decide to take your case before a jury, you will go through a few more steps than if you had chosen a bench trial. After the pre-trial motions have been decided, jury selection will begin. A pool of potential jurors will be called to the courthouse, where they will be asked a number of questions by the judge and attorneys. Both the prosecution and defense have a certain number of preemptive strikes that they can use to eliminate a juror for any reason. A juror may also be eliminated if he or she indicates an inability to remain unbiased.
Once the jury has been selected, the trial will begin. Each side will have the opportunity to make an opening statement, explaining the evidence that will be introduced throughout the trial. Next, the prosecution will call witnesses to the stand and the defense will be presented with the chance to cross examine them. After the prosecution rests, the defense will have an opportunity to do the same. When the defense is done, both sides will make closing arguments and the case will go to the jury for deliberation.
Before the jury is sent off to deliberate, the judge will explain the elements of the crime that must be proven by the prosecution as well as how a verdict should be decided. The jury will then decide if you are guilty or not guilty.
Pros and Cons of a Jury Trial
There are several pros and cons of a jury trial. For example, a jury may show more compassion when reaching a verdict than the judge. However, if the jury has any negative emotions towards the defendant, this could also be reflected in the verdict.
A jury trial may also have an advantage if you need to seek an appeal after your verdict, as appellate courts are less likely to grant an appeal in the case of a bench trial. However, a jury will also not be as familiar with potential legal issues in your case as a judge.
A Utah DUI Lawyer Can Help
A DUI defense lawyer will not only help you decide if a jury trial is right for you, but can also prepare your defense for court.