Trial in a DUI Case

California DUI cases typically go to trial within 45 days of arrest.

No one wants to face a courtroom and stand trial. Unfortunately, DUI is treated as a criminal charge in California, not just a traffic violation. That means that if you do not resolve your DUI before you court date, you will face a full trial by jury.

How a DUI Trial Works

The basic information you need to know about a DUI trial includes:

  • Your trial will be decided by a jury of 12 individuals drawn from the community.
  • If found Not Guilty, you are clear of all charges and free to go.
  • If found Guilty, the judge will sentence you. The sentence depends on the specific DUI charge you face, but the judge has the power to be very lenient or very strict.
  • You should have a lawyer representing you, preferably one who focuses their work on DUI law.

Most DUI trials are scheduled within 45 days of your arrest. If you are being held in jail until trial, the trial must come sooner—within 30 days.

Avoiding Trial in a DUI Case

Many DUI cases are resolved without going to court. In some cases you can even win your DUI case before the trial ever happens. Out of court resolutions include:

  • Your lawyer convinces the prosecutor they don’t have a strong case, and the prosecutor drops the charges.
  • Your lawyer convinces the judge there isn’t enough evidence, and the judge dismisses the case.
  • Your lawyer negotiates an acceptable deal with the prosecution.

A deal could include having the charges dropped to reckless driving or simply avoiding the worst penalties. You should never accept an offer from the prosecution unless you have spoken to an experienced DUI defense lawyer. If the deal is a good one, your lawyer may advise you to take it. Or they may believe you’ll do better if you fight the charge.

How a DUI Lawyer Wins at Trial

DUI lawyers work to help their clients avoid trial if at all possible. This is because trial outcomes are uncertain—juries are not always predictable. But DUI lawyers are also experienced courtroom attorneys. They know how to argue your case if it does go to trial.

Tactics your lawyer could use include:

  • Overseeing the jury selection to make sure jurors are not biased against you.
  • Attacking the validity of the breath test or blood test results. These results are often the lynchpin of the case, and can be disqualified on many grounds.
  • Establishing alternative explanations, such as using mouthwash or rising BAC.
  • Blocking the prosecution’s evidence if it was gathered in a way that violated your rights.

In many cases a skilled attorney can win a DUI case outright. The burden of proof is not on you—it’s on the prosecutor. If the prosecutor cannot make it absolutely certain that you drove under the influence, the jury should acquit.

Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.

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