For those of you that have been charged with a DUI or some other driving violation, does it truly make a difference if it is argued before a jury or a judge? DUI Defense attorneys will almost always state that a court trial is more preferable for an offender. This may be true to some extent, however – like all other things relating to law and attorneys – its complex.
If you make the decision to present your case before a jury, think about these factors:
- The laws of evidence are complex and tricky and a judge, resenting the time and hassle due to jury trials, may demand that the rules are followed strictly; this may be a difficult process if you were to defend yourself.
- You’re addressing a jury, 6 – 12 individuals (normally all drivers) who are usually not happy being in court and who could be irritated with a reckless driver or DUI driver with a questionable case, and
- A jury trial has a tendency to last for a longer time period, compared to a non-jury trial, therefore increasing legal expenses; however, there normally are good reasons for a person to demand a jury trial. Listed below are a few of the reasons:
- In the same way that jurors could be inconsiderate to questionable driving charges, in addition, they may feel offended by the traffic court system. Basically, if one makes quite a persuasive presentation, a jury is probably more inclined than a judge to favor you,
- A court trial could be a more sensible choice for those who face, particularly serious penalties from a guilty verdict—such as the chance of your license being suspended or a substantial rise in your insurance payments. Since the charges are so high, it might be safer to bet on the decisions of a jury, than depend on a judge, and
- Jury trials are frustrating for you, district attorneys, judges and police officers. Therefore, as soon as you request one, the system has some motivation to negotiate your case without having to go to trial. Bargains may take several forms, based on the situation. For instance, in case you are arrested for driving too fast and running a stop sign, there is a good chance that the DA may drop one charge if you are willing to plead guilty to the other.
Two other factors that may have an impact on your choice:
- The structure of a jury trial is comparable to a proper non-jury trial apart from one massive difference: You need to take part in the procedure for choosing a jury, and
- Don’t think that since you requested a jury trial that you have to be found guilty by 12 elected jurors. In a drunk driving or any other traffic cases, you will find that certain states offer four-member, six-member as well as eight-member juries. Furthermore, different states permit jurors to arrive at a verdict on a 10–2 or 5–1 vote. Seek advice from the court clerk regarding your state’s laws.
Remember Tennessee DUI laws are complex, the penalties are harsh. Don’t risk your future by hiring the wrong Knoxville DUI lawyer make sure you choose a skilled DUI defense attorney that will fight for your rights and protect your future.