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What to Expect at Your DUI Trial

Moreland Law Firm Dec. 26, 2023

What to Expect at Your DUI Trial 

Preparing for a DUI trial can feel incredibly stressful. The uncertainty of what lies ahead can be overwhelming, because the potential consequences of a conviction are life-altering. Knowledge is power, and when you're well-informed about the process, it can alleviate some of the fear and uncertainty. 

This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what to expect at your DUI trial. From the initial arraignment to the final verdict, we'll walk you through each stage, explaining the complexities in a way that makes sense.  

Remember, you're not alone in this journey. Having an experienced attorney by your side can make all the difference. We hope this information serves as a valuable resource, providing clarity and guidance during this difficult period. It's time to demystify the DUI trial process and empower you with the knowledge you need to face what lies ahead. 

The Arraignment Stage 

The DUI court process begins with the arraignment. This stage is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire trial. As your legal representatives, we'll be there with you, ensuring your rights are protected and helping you understand the potential consequences of each plea option. At this stage, you'll appear before the court and enter a plea — a pivotal moment that requires expert legal representation. 

Remember, the plea you choose can significantly impact the trajectory of your trial. Working with an attorney can help ensure you make a choice that best serves your interests. 

The Preliminary Hearing 

Following the arraignment is the preliminary hearing. Here, the judge determines whether there's enough evidence to proceed with the trial. This stage is another critical juncture where an experienced DUI defense attorney by your side can make all the difference. 

Your representation will challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution and advocate for your rights. Your lawyer's aim will be to ensure that the judge has a comprehensive view of the evidence from both sides before making a decision.  

The Trial Process 

If the case proceeds to trial after the preliminary hearing, you'll need to understand the trial process. Though many DUI cases conclude with a guilty plea or plea deal during the arraignment, choosing to go to trial changes the game. 

  1. The trial process begins with the selection of a jury, if your case is being tried before one. Your legal team will be actively involved in this process, striving to ensure a fair and impartial jury is selected, as they play a significant role in determining the outcome of your case. 

  1. Next, both the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to present their opening statements. This is your attorney's chance to outline their defense strategy to the jury, setting the stage for the evidence and witnesses they'll introduce later.  

  1. Following the opening statements, the prosecution presents its case. They'll call witnesses, which may include law enforcement officers or experts, and present physical evidence to try and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence. Your defense team will cross-examine these witnesses, challenging their credibility and the validity of their testimony. 

  1. Once the prosecution rests its case, it's the defense's turn to present the defense. Your lawyer may call on witnesses, including experts, who can provide testimony that supports your defense. They might also present evidence that contradicts the prosecution's case or creates reasonable doubt.  

  1. After both sides have presented their cases, closing arguments are made. This is the final opportunity to persuade the jury, summarizing the evidence presented and emphasizing the reasons why the prosecution has failed to meet its burden of proof. 

  1. Finally, the jury will deliberate and reach a verdict. If you're acquitted, the case ends. However, if you're convicted, the road doesn't end there. Then would be the time to discuss potential avenues for appeal and continue to fight for your rights. 

Remember, every DUI trial is unique, with its own set of circumstances and challenges. The percentage of DUI case dismissals in the U.S. generally falls between 10 and 20 percent. But having a skilled DUI defense attorney by your side can help increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.  

The Importance of Working With a DUI Defense Attorney 

Facing a DUI trial can be daunting, with potential consequences including fines, license suspension, and possibly even jail time. But remember, you don't have to go it alone. Having skilled DUI defense attorneys on your side can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case. Choosing a DUI defense attorney isn't a decision to be taken lightly. You need someone experienced, proficient in DUI laws, and dedicated to your case.  

Contact a Lawyer 

At Moreland Law Firm, we're here to fight for you, challenge the evidence against you, and seek your best possible outcome.  

Our DUI lawyers are based in Nashville, Tennessee. Our reach extends to individuals in Franklin, Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Columbia, and Dickson. No matter where you're located within these areas, we're here for you, ready to provide assertive and persuasive representation to protect your rights and interests.