DUI Toolbox Includes Jury Trial
May 18th, 2009
In DUI cases it may seem to the uninitiated that a trial would not be wise. After all, how can a jury find someone Not Guilty of a DUI charge when the evidence seems overwhelming and it includes a breath test over the legal limit? There are, in fact, numerous Washington State DUI cases where a dedicated DUI defense attorney secured a NOT GUILTY verdict on behalf of a client who felt overwhelmed by the evidence against him. It is not an easy thing to experience because trials are risky, they are unpredictable, and trial can certainly be frightening for the accused citizen.
A committed and skilled DUI defense attorney assesses the risks and benefits of trial. Often, trial is the only tool left in the "legal toolbox" when other means of handling the case have been exhausted. However, the other tools are used first by a good defense attorney who seeks to obtain the option of a "non-DUI" resolution of the case for the client's consideration. If the case can't be resolved at a pretrial stage, trial may be the only procedure available to the attorney who seeks to fully and completely defend his or her client. Preparation for a DUI trial, and the commitment to actually trying the case, can lead to good results that were not obtainable at an earler stage of the case. In some cases, the prosecutor is unable to proceed on the day of trial due to witness problems, or there are too many cases set for the same day so that some must be resolved and others will go to trial. In addition, the prepared DUI defense attorney presents motions that are heard on the morning of trial. If the defense prevails in these motions, the prosecution might be unable to proceed further. There are numerous other things that can happen on the morning of trial that can be to the benefit of the accused when a DUI case goes to trial. In the end there are many things that have to go right in order to get a trial to actually start. But when a trial starts, the defense attorney must be committed, prepared and experienced if the correct verdict is to be secured. Trial is something to be respected. The principles of our Constitution come alive in trial as jurors decide whether the government's accusation will stand against the citizen. Our legal system grants to the accused the presumption of innocence from the moment of arrest until the minute the jury has heard all the evidence and is charged with coming to a decision in the privacy of the jury room. During this process all six jurors must agree that the evidence presented convinces them that the presumption of innocence is now outweighed by proof, beyond a single reasonable doubt, for a DUI conviction to follow. The magnitude of this legal hurdle is another reason why a trial is warranted as opposed to a guilty plea when these are the only two options remaining. Unfortunately, all too often trial is something that some attorneys are afraid of and thus they convince their clients that pleading guilty is the better option. In reality, however, a guilty plea is most often the better option for the attroney, not for the client, although each case is different. While trial is not the only answer in each and every case it presents a challenge to the prosecutor that might be insurmountable due to a number of factors, not the least of which is the skill and determination of the DUI defense attorney. Therefore, if you wish to evaluate the DUI defense attorney you are considering to represent you regarding a Washington State DUI arrest, ask the attorney to tell you exactly when the last time was that he or she said in open court on the morning of jury trial: "READY FOR TRIAL YOUR HONOR!"