The prospect of facing a driving under the influence conviction can be stressful. Therefore, it is often helpful to understand what to expect. This post will address the criminal court process, in particular a California DUI trial.
A California DUI trial may be held either before a judge (a bench trial) or a judge and jury. The first phase of a DUI jury trial is jury selection, a process in which both the prosecutor and the offender’s California DUI defense attorney will participate. Once the jury is selected, the trial begins.
DUI trials typically last several days. At the DUI trial, both the California DUI lawyer and the prosecution will examine witnesses, call experts to testify, and present any relative evidence. Once both the prosecution and the defense have presented their evidence, closing arguments are heard. The judge then instructs the jury on how to apply the facts of the DUI case to the law and jury deliberation begins.
During the jury deliberation, the jurors are excused to the jury room to discuss the facts of the case. In order for a suspected California DUI offender to be convicted, “all” jurors must be convinced “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the suspected DUI offender is guilty.
If the jurors are not able to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender is in fact guilty, then the offender will need to be acquitted of the charges heard. If the DUI offender is found guilty, then the judge will decide what the appropriate punishment (which can be set by law) will be.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in California, it is imperative to consult with an experienced California DUI defense attorney who can help you successfully navigate the criminal justice system.