What Are Some Reasons That Prosecution May Drop Or Dismiss A DUI Case?
It relates to a trial. We have had cases where a witness did not show up like on a blood case where they have subpoenaed the technician from the lab, the state lab or something like that for some reason and the analyst did not get the subpoena or forgot about it, something like that, so that would be a reason for them to dismiss. Witness problems are pretty common in a DUI trial, and then, sometimes the police officers, they do not show up either or halfway through the trial, have such inconsistent testimony; I had one here a while ago where the officer testified in open court in front of the jury and then we have played the video for the jury and what the officer said in court was not even portrayed on the video.
It was not even close to what happened on the video and so halfway through the case, the prosecutor decided to dismiss this one. But before you even get to trial, there are a bunch of things that we can use, like legal defenses as an unlawful arrest, there was not a probable cause to arrest, or there was not a reason to pull the driver over in the first place, or I have one here coming up where they did not check the driver’s mouth before they had him do the breath test. So there are a host of defenses and reasons for a DUI to be dismissed up until the trial and including during the trial. So it happens quite a bit.
Do Most People Understand What A DUI Trial Actually Consists Of?
The first question I get is, “Well, tell me about the trial. Is it going to take more than an hour or two?” I am thinking in the back of my mind. Yes, sometimes. At the very least, it will take a day to do and so there is a little bit of misunderstanding about the time involved. And then a lot of people see trials on TV where there is a bunch of jury members, at least eight or more. But on a B misdemeanor DUI here in Utah, the driver only gets a four member jury. So they think that their jury is going to be like what they see on TV and when four people are finally selected for their trial, they do have that understanding.
I always try and have the client know all the information before we decide to schedule a trial and get ready for trial. Yes, you do not get eight people, you get four people and they would be the ones that make the decision and when you go to trial, you turn the control over to a judge and a jury for the outcome of the case versus if you take the plea deal. You kind of are in control of the outcome of your case if you take a plea. So, there are quite a few misunderstandings about the trial process.
Will Someone Receive A Harsher Sentence If They Are Convicted In A Trial?
No, not always. I know a lot of people have a misconception about that. They think that if they request the trial on their case, especially a jury trial, that if they are convicted, the judge and the prosecution will be harder on them and will ask for more severe sanctions. I do not see that. Sometimes, a prosecutor may try and ask for jail time instead of community service or something. For the most part, they understand the process, they are entitled to this, they are presumed innocent and there is nothing wrong with a defendant requesting a trial in their matter. When it comes to sentencing, they look at it totally differently and they are just going to look at what is the prior history here, what was the level of the blood alcohol, was it a controlled substance or a prescription. So, in my opinion, no one receives a harsher sanction for going to trial.
The Importance Of Clearly Understanding All Options In A DUI Trial
It is huge, it is very important. They really do need to understand all of the different options and avenues that they can take with a DUI conviction. There can be sanctions from jail time to the loss of a license for a couple of years, classes and supervised probation. There is so much to consider for future consequences, enhance-ability, job opportunities lost and so I know that people who are not familiar with the system, this might be their first offense and the first time in the system and we go to court with our first meeting with the prosecutor and first appearance with the judge. It can be so, overwhelming for people. We are giving them a lot of information and its technical information.
Sometimes it can be confusing and I even tell my clients that I am trying to give them all their options and explain everything. I say I am not here to push you in any direction and sometimes I can tell if they are upset, frustrated or not understanding, I will say, “Why don’t we just continue your case? Now you know where it is going. Why not we continue it? You can go home and let some of this sink in and you can discuss the options with your family members, spouse or significant other. If they have any questions, feel free to have them call me or make an appointment and I will help clarify any issues!”
Most of the time, a judge or a prosecutor will not disagree with a continuance for the client to have some time to think about the options that they have and the way they would like to proceed with the case.
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