DUI - Criminal Trial
A criminal trial is a means by which a defendants guilt is determined, guilt must be proved 'beyond reasonable doubt' in order for the defendant to be convicted of the DUI charge(s) against them.
Criminal trials for drunk driving / DUI will follow a set of procedures which may include:
Judge or Jury Trial: The defense and prosecution must decide whether they want the case to be tried by a judge and jury or just by a judge.
Jury Selection: If a judge and jury trial is decided upon then the defense and prosecution must select the people to sit on the jury. They do this using a question and answer process called voir dire.
Evidence Issues: The defense and prosecution make pr-trial motions in order to admit or exclude evidence.
Opening Statements: The prosecution followed by the defense make opening statements to the court. The facts of the case are presented.
Prosecution case-in-chief: A chance for the prosecution to present its main case against the defendant by calling witnesses and experts to testify against the defendant and to try and prove their guilt. Physical evidence in the form of photographs, documents, chemical test results and medical reports will also be presented.
Prosecution Cross Examination: A chance for the defense to cross examine and challenge witnesses and evidence called by the prosecution. The defense may try to find holes in a witnesses story and discredit their testimony and generally find any flaws in the evidence provided.
Prosecution Redirect: The prosecution can now re-examine the evidence and witnesses and attempt to dispute any flaws that may have been raised by the defense.
Defense case-in-chief: A chance for the defense to present its main case against the prosecution by calling witnesses and experts to testify to the defendants innocence.
Defense Cross Examination: A chance for the prosecution to cross examine and challenge witnesses and evidence called by the defense. The prosecution will try to discredit witnesses and evidence in a bid to prove the defendants guilt.
Defense Redirect: The defense can now re-examine the evidence and witnesses and attempt to repair any damage done to the credibility of said witnesses and evidence by the prosecution.
Defense Rests: The defense rests their case.
Prosecutions Closing Argument: A chance for the prosecution to sum up the case against the defendant, summarizing the evidence and explaining why the defendant should be found guilty.
Defenses Closing Argument: A chance for the defense to sum up the case and explain why the defendant should be found not guilty.
Jury Instructed: The jury is instructed by the judge as to what laws apply to the case and how to apply them in coming to a verdict.
Jury Deliberations: The jury discusses the case which is known as deliberation. They must decide amongst them if the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the charges brought against them. Once they have decided they inform the judge of their decision. Deliberations can last hours, days and even weeks. Mosts states require they reach a unanimous verdict, if this is not possible the judge may declare a mistrial. If a mistrial is declared, the case can be dismissed or re-trialled.
If the defendant is found guilty the judge will then proceed to pass sentence. A person may file an appeal against the sentence give or the conviction itself if they feel they have been wrongfully convicted or sentenced.