After undergoing the DUI arrest process, defendants often have to start thinking about what kind of trial they are going to proceed with. There are bench trials and jury trials. In a bench trial, one judge decides a defendant’s guilt or innocence. In a jury trial, a panel of six individuals selected from the community considers the facts and evidence of the case and decides whether someone is guilty or innocent. A capable DUI lawyer may have experience dealing with West Palm Beach DUI jury trials and could help you decide which trial would work best for your situation.
Determining a Trial
A DUI lawyer might suggest one type of trial over another based on their determination about which type of trial offers the better odds of winning. When an individual has a purely legal argument such as they were not driving or they can prove that another individual was driving, they may want to go in front of a judge. In a situation where the DUI lawyer thinks the judge may not agree with their argument, they may have a better chance of winning by convincing a couple of jurors to hold out and not convict the defendant.
A professional DUI lawyer often recommends a jury trial over a judge trial because the odds of winning West Palm Beach DUI jury trials are better. In a jury trial, the government must convince six people beyond the exclusion of a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. In a bench trial, they only have to convince one individual. The odds are better in front of a jury because it is more difficult to get six strangers to agree unanimously someone is guilty as opposed to winning over one individual. For this reason, a DUI attorney will often choose a jury trial over a bench trial to help a defendant.
The Effect of Case Evidence
The facts of someone’s DUI case could motivate a criminal defense lawyer to suggest allowing the case to be decided by a jury. In other words, if the evidence of guilt is not overwhelming, it might be beneficial for the accused to let a jury decide their case. For instance, in a case where a driver refuses to take a breath test and they have no criminal record, they could probably benefit from a jury trial. Something else that might motivate a lawyer to suggest a jury trial is when a driver took a breath test and they are just over the legal limit, but there is a time span between the time they were driving and the time they gave a breath test. Here, the facts of the case are in the defendant’s favor and the DUI lawyer believes that the defendant can win based on those facts.
When a Lawyer Would Recommend a Jury Trial
When the option to resolve the case is not good enough, a lawyer might recommend that the accused go to a jury trial. When someone negotiates a resolution that they think would be the same or worse than if they are found guilty, they have nothing to lose by going to trial. West Palm Beach DUI jury trials also come into play when the defendant has multiple offenses. Because of one’s prior convictions, an individual could lose their license for five to 10 years for a second or a third offense. For this reason, a defendant might decide to go to trial in an attempt to preserve their driver’s license and avoid jail time.
The Value of Working With a Local Attorney
While the decision about whether to go with a jury trial depends on the facts of the case, an experienced DUI attorney can advise you on whether a West Palm Beach DUI jury trial is what is best for you. A person goes to trial when they believe it is worth the risk. The situations where a lawyer would recommend that you go to trial are when the facts are there, when the offer to resolve the case does not provide you with enough of an incentive to settle the case, or if you have nothing to lose by going to trial.
There are many inherent advantages of working with a local attorney who has a positive reputation in their community. A lawyer from West Palm Beach will know the precedents as far a judge’s history on sentencing and understands the prosecutor’s discretion related to cases. A local DUI attorney has a unique perspective on what can and cannot be done, and can reference recent resolutions when they feel an offer to resolve a case is not consistent with previous cases. If you have questions about whether West Palm Beach DUI jury trials are right for you, consult a qualified DUI attorney that can help.