Many Driving While Under the Influence (DUI) cases result in settlement of some kind. DUI cases often settle with a negotiated plea agreement that may limit the amount of jail time one is facing. Sometimes, DUI cases are reduced to lesser included charges, based on an error in the instrumentation used to measure the blood alcohol or breath alcohol of a driver. Other times, the case is reduced or even dismissed because the evidence is insufficient as a matter of law to convict a person of a DUI. However, sometimes, a DUI case doesn't settle. When that happens, the case must go to trial.
Going to trial in a DUI case requires preparation both on behalf of the lawyer and on behalf of the accused person. The trial preparation is different for each.
Trial Preparation for the Lawyer
A lawyer has already reviewed the evidence long before a DUI trial. However, when preparing for trial, a lawyer reviews the evidence again, including the following.
- The nature of the stop.
- The conduct of the accused at the side of the road before, during, and after any field sobriety tests.
- Any statements that were taken from witnesses.
- Statements made by the defendant.
- The test results from blood tests, breath tests, or urine tests.
- The maintenance records of the instrument used to measure the presence of alcohol.
- Protocol and procedure followed (or not followed) when performing the testing.
- Chain of custody for any evidence.
- A review of any photos.
- A review of any videos taken at the station or on the scene.
- A review of all police reports.
- Review of other pertinent police records.
In addition, the lawyer may spend some time with their client, discussing whether or not the client may testify. Often, defendants don't testify in criminal trials. If, for example, all they can contribute is a simple, “I didn't do it,” there is no need to put them on the stand. They have already announced their innocence by virtue of their not guilty plea. Consequently, this person may not testify. On the other hand, in a situation where a person had several drinks after they got home, but before the breath, blood, or urine test, for example, their testimony may be necessary. Every case is different. Consequently, witness preparation will be different in each case.
Trial Preparation for the Defendant
Defendants should prepare for their trials in several ways, so as to reduce stress and increase the likelihood of having a smooth day. With the benefit of countless DUI trials, our Roswell DUI attorneys offer some advice for trial preparation.
Plan Ahead Regarding Your Wardrobe
Nothing throws off a morning like getting dressed for court, only to realize a button is missing or there is a giant yogurt stain on the front of the shirt you were planning on wearing to trial. Take some time in the days or weeks before the trial to review your wardrobe options. Make certain your clothes are clean, pressed, and that all buttons and zippers are in working order in advance of the trial day. This gives you time to take the clothing to the dry cleaners or plan a different outfit if need be.
Determine the Best Route to the Courthouse
Even though you have been to court before on these charges, take a few minutes to map out your best route to the courthouse. Consider whether public transportation, a rideshare, getting a ride from a friend, or driving yourself is the best option. The idea is to determine which method of getting to the courthouse will give you the least amount of stress.
Trial days can be busy. Depending on where you are making your court appearance, parking may be a challenge. Take this into consideration when evaluating transportation options to and from court.
Plan for a Long Day
Often times, more than one thing is set for trial on the judge's calendar. As such, it may take some time before your case comes up to be heard. You should consider bringing things to occupy your time. Don't rely solely on screens. Depending on the judge, you may not be able to use your phone or other handheld devices in the courtroom. Even once your case is before the judge, it may be some time before things get going. The court may wish to speak to the attorneys in chambers, for example.
In addition, when the case goes to trial, there will be breaks for lunch, however, these breaks may not be for very long. Consider your personal food needs and, if it is practical to do so, pack some snacks or even a complete lunch so that you are sure to get a meal in. Nothing makes an afternoon drag on like an empty stomach.
Listen to Your Attorney
Sometimes, an offer presents itself “on the courtroom steps.” If you get a last-minute offer, listen to your lawyer about the pros and cons of taking the offer rather than going to trial. While in trial, let your lawyer listen to the witness testimony. It is more difficult for them to accomplish this if you are speaking to them at the same time. Expect your lawyer will ask you to write out your concerns rather than speak them while in trial. Please respect your lawyer's request. They are better able to litigate if they can keep their hearing honed in on the witnesses. Your notes can communicate your concerns in a less intrusive but still effective manner.
Facing DUI Charges?
If you are facing DUI charges, don't attempt to go it alone. Our experienced Roswell and Alpharetta County DUI lawyers can help. We have the litigation experience you need to enter your DUI trial with confidence. Let our attorneys put their experience to work for you. Contact us at 404.816.4440. There is no charge for a consultation in your DUI case. We have lawyers available around the clock. Call us today to schedule your appointment.