Step 3: TRIAL
The DWI trial usually takes one to two days, but could be longer if it is a felony DWI. If it is a guilty verdict, you has the right to have the punishment decided by a Jury or Judge. Most DWI lawyers recommend that the Jury decide the facts of the case, and the Judge decide the punishment.
First stage of trial – “Voir Dire” or jury selection. During this process that each lawyer and sometimes the Judge have a brief opportunity to question potential jurors to expose bias. Jurors are then struck from the panel and the ones left are the ones that will be selected as the jury. Six (6) jurors are for misdemeanor cases and twelve (12) jurors in felony cases.
Second stage – “Opening Statement”. Each lawyer will then give their Opening Statement. Afterwards, the prosecution will begin by presenting its case, followed by the presentation of the client’s case.
Third stage – “The Trial”. In order to sustain a conviction, the prosecution must prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. During the trial, the Defense may bring in experts who give scientific testimony about the effects of alcohol or drugs on the body, the rate of chemical absorption, field sobriety testing, and many other subjects that help to create reasonable doubt.
There is fertile ground for reasonable doubt when proper procedures are not followed or when the officers made up their mind that the accused was intoxicated before even approaching the vehicle. A good DWI attorney will carefully weigh the pros and cons with the Client so that the Client can decide whether or not they will testify on there own behalf.
Fourth stage – “Jury Deliberation”. Probably the most stressful part of any jury trial! Juries are unpredictable. No one can predict the outcome in a jury trial. Juries in DWI cases are known to deliberate anywhere from ten minutes to 3 days. Verdicts reached by jurors must be a unanimous decision of either “Not Guilty” or “Guilty.” There’s no majority vote! However, if any one juror is indecisive causing the jury to not reach a unanimous decision, then the judge may call a mistrial.