In a jury trial, a group of selected people from the community will hear the case. The are sworn to give a verdict in a legal case on the basis of evidence submitted to them in court. In Chantilly, Virginia, the jurors have two roles. They not only decide guilt or innocence, but they also decide the punishment for the individual and the jury has free rein under the law.
This is different from a bench trial, which is where a judge will hear the case and make a decision about whether or not a conviction is necessary, and also dictate a punishment that he or she may seem fit. A DUI attorney has the experience to make the most favorable decision when it comes to picking one or the other.
In general district court, the only option available is a bench trial. In other words, the option for a jury trial is unavailable for a first time misdemeanor DUI offense.
The only time an individual has the option for a jury is going to be if they are appealing a misdemeanor offense or if they are charged with a felony DUI. A felony DUI case is going to be more serious and choosing between the two types or trials will impact the verdict possibilities heavily.
There are a few scenarios in which an attorney would want their client’s case to be tried by a jury. One is when the client is easy to be sympathetic towards. Also, it would be helpful to have laws that are present that a panel or jurors might not fully understand and feel comfortable labeling someone as guilty of breaking.
For example, a situation where somebody has an involuntary intoxication defense, where they were drugged at a party and that the person was given a drink not knowing there was something in it. A jury could potentially have pity on the client and conclude that even though the law says that the action was illegal, a person should not be held guilty or responsible for this because it is not something that they had control over.
The process for choosing a jury in Chantilly, Virginia is called voir dire. Voir dire is a process by which the prosecutor and the defense attorney will ask a panel of potential jurors questions to determine whether or not they are eligible to serve on the final panel.
During this process, a lawyer has the chance to present a little bit of their case to the panel, and to also figure a few things out about the potential candidates. For example, a lawyer can weed out anyone who has been convicted of a DUI in the past or are just generally against drinking. It gives a defense attorney the opportunity to choose individuals who are not going be biased towards their client.
Picking either a bench trial or a jury trial in Chantilly depends on the facts of the case. For example, if the accused injured a person during the event in question, it would be difficult to persuade non-legal professionals to reach a favorable verdict due to possible lack of will to sympathize with the alleged party. Juries can potentially be a much harsher source of punishment than a judge would be when given the same case. In other words, judges have learned how to leave their emotions out of the sentencing process.
A bench trial is favorable in other situations as well. One thing to consider is that there are things that a panel of jurors is not going to understand that the judge might in a DUI case. For example, if there are other factors that could play into somebody’s behavior, such as a complicated medical issue, that could be something that would be put in front of a judge. Otherwise, in front of a jury, many people are going to be needed to explain something which might already be known by the judge or the judge might already have some background.
In a situation where an individual has the option of making a selection of who will hear their case, the prosecution in also has the right in Chantilly to make a counter suggestion.
If an individual’s preference lies with a bench trial, it is possible that a prosecutor would request the jury in order to balance the odds in their favor.
The benefits of working with a local Chantilly DUI lawyer when deciding whether or not to take a case to trial, especially when deciding whether or not to take a case to a jury, are too numerous to name. Somebody who is familiar not only with the processes of the area but also with the population from which the jury will be selected is going to be a valuable tool to create a very robust defense.
For example, in situations where an individual is facing a panel of jurors, they are going to know what questions to ask, what the individuals in the area might have heard, and what types of decisions these individuals are going to make based on their profession and where they live in Chantilly.
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