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Fredericksburg DUI Trial Process

Getting charged with a DUI can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it is a first offense. That is why those who have been charged with driving under the influence should retain the services of a skilled DUI lawyer. A capable attorney may have a better understanding of the Fredericksburg DUI trial process and could devote the time and resources necessary to build your defense. Work with an accomplished DUI lawyer who could leverage their trial experience to achieve a positive outcome for you.

Expectations on the Day of Trial

On the day of the trial, several things may happen. The prosecutor is assigned to the courtroom, speaks with the officers, and learns about the case for the very first time. Once the officer speaks with the prosecutor briefly about the case, the prosecutor, defense attorney, and the officer have an opportunity to discuss the facts of the case and everything that they have been able to do to prepare for court.

During the session, the prosecutor may offer a plea-bargain, and the defense attorney has an opportunity to discuss that. After this discussion, the defense attorney and the accused discuss the prosecutor’s offer and determine whether it would best to accept that offer or whether it would be best to proceed to trial.

Main Steps in the DUI Trial Process

There are three main steps in the Fredericksburg DUI trial process. The first is opening statements, in which the lawyers present the possible facts to the judge. The second is the presentation of evidence in which witnesses testify and evidence is presented to the court. The third is closing statements and a ruling by the judge in which the evidence is summed up and the judge determines the facts of the case.

Opening Statements During a Hearing

Opening statements are remarks by the attorney before the court begins to hear evidence. An individual has the right to an opening statement. In an opening statement, an attorney may point out the things that are important in that specific case for the judge to listen to. There are many strategic reasons to waive an opening statement if it would be better in an individual case.

It is not uncommon in a DUI case for a good defense attorney to decide to waive opening statement if they do not want to give away their arguments or if there is nothing, in particular, they want to draw to the judge’s attention. It is common in a DUI case to have one specific fact that one would want to draw to the judge’s attention, in which case, the opening statement may be simply alerting the judge that there is one specific issue that they would like them to pay particular attention.

Who Presents Their Case First in DUI Trials?

The Commonwealth attorney presents their evidence first during the Fredericksburg DUI trial process because a Commonwealth attorney has the burden of proof in a DUI case. The prosecution has to attempt to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt before the defense attorney has to decide whether to present any evidence. A prosecutor or a Commonwealth attorney presents the government’s case against the driver in a DUI case.

Government Evidence in a DUI Case

The kind of evidence that the government presents in a DUI case varies from case to case. In almost every DUI case, the prosecutor has to present someone who saw the individual driving. Usually, a police officer testifies about their initial interaction with the defendant, the defendant’s appearance, the defendant’s performance of field sobriety tests, and their possible breathalyzer result.

What the Defense Does While the Government Presents its Case

While the government presents its case, the defense pays close attention in case possible objections should be made or the evidence being asked about is not appropriate for the judge to consider. Evidence could be kept out if an objection is made in an appropriate manner. It is also important for the defense attorney to pay close attention to the judge’s reaction to evidence and the exact evidence presented to determine the proper questions for cross-examining.

The defense files the government’s presentation once the government has presented their evidence by making a motion to strike and arguing that the prosecutor has not proven their case enough to proceed. The defense has an opportunity to present evidence to the court as well, during the Fredericksburg DUI trial process.

Evidence the Defense May Present in DUI Cases

The defense presents a variety of evidence during the Fredericksburg DUI trial process, depending on the facts of the case. In many cases, it may be necessary to present an expert witness to testify about the results of the breathalyzer machine. In other cases, it may be necessary to have people who are with the defendant testify about the defendant’s behavior leading up to the DUI and their driving behavior to determine whether they were drinking any alcohol before getting in the car.

In many cases, the best witness for a defendant is the defendant who is able to testify as to where they were coming from, what they had been doing, and whether or not they were intoxicated at the time of the incident.

What Does the Government Do While the Defense Presents Evidence?

While the defense presents evidence, the Commonwealth attorney may make objections to evidence and prepare for cross-examining the defendant’s witnesses to try to cast doubt on the evidence presented by the defense.

Closing Statements During a DUI Trial in Fredericksburg

Closing statements work by summarizing the evidence that was presented in an argument as to why evidence does or does not rise to the level necessary for conviction in a criminal case. In a closing statement, a defense points out the factors that are weaknesses in the Commonwealth’s case, points out the factors that are strong points in the defendant’s case, and argues to the judge that those factors mean that the Commonwealth has not proved one or more of the elements of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If an individual wants to know more about the Fredericksburg DUI trial process, they should consult a knowledgeable DUI attorney who could answer their questions and help guide them through the process.

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