Am I Entitled to a Jury Trial for a DUI in California?

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Am I Entitled to a Jury Trial for a DUI in California?

person drinking while driving

If you’re facing a DUI, you may think it’s not as severe as other charges. However, this one charge can influence the rest of your life. As such, it’s essential to understand your rights as a defendant during a criminal trial. This includes your liberty to be tried by a jury of your peers. Keep reading to learn more about the trial process and discover how a DUI lawyer in Sacramento California can help you navigate these complex issues.

What Is a Jury Trial?

When facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, you will likely have the option to accept a plea deal in which you plead guilty in exchange for reduced charges. However, if you do not want to plead out, you may enter a “not guilty” plea. As such, you will proceed to a criminal trial.

Generally, you may find that you want to opt for a jury trial. You will face a jury of your peers, which includes twelve people who live in your county. These jurors will hear your case from both the defense and prosecution before convening to make a decision. They must all agree before a verdict can be issued. If they decide you are guilty, the judge will decide how to sentence you.

However, you may opt to forego a jury trial and choose a bench trial instead. This means the only person who will hear your case is the judge. They will act as the jury and issue a verdict after listening to the defense and prosecution present their arguments. Many do not waive their right to a jury trial, as trying to sway one person can often prove more difficult than twelve.

Which Option Is Best for Me if I’m Charged With a DUI?

When facing a DUI charge, it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney before deciding how to proceed. Unfortunately, there are pros and cons to each option, and speaking with a lawyer who understands the circumstances of your case can help point you in the right direction.

For example, your attorney may realize that the prosecution has irrefutable evidence against you, thus advising you to accept a plea deal. However, if your attorney recognizes there’s a constitutional violation, it may increase your chances of receiving a not-guilty verdict.

It cannot be stressed enough that the most important thing you must do following a DUI charge is to consult an attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Dale R. Gomes, our dedicated legal team will examine the details of your case to offer you the best possible legal advice. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you through these challenging times.