A DUI can be very stressful and daunting because a DUI arrest is, for many people, the first interaction they have ever had with law enforcement, a police department, or the criminal justice system. Getting a DUI is much more serious than a mere traffic ticket because it does not just go away by paying a fine or doing some community service. A DUI requires court appearances, lawyers, negotiating, and possibly even trial, depending on the individual circumstances.
The court and the DMV give consequences to an individual who is arrested for a DUI, which could include fines, substance abuse treatment, community service, license suspension, and sometimes even jail time. However, a first offense DUI is treated less severely than any subsequent DUI charge, and oftentimes, the prosecutor and the judge treat this charge as a mistake and something that can be remedied without lifetime consequences
After negotiations yield an unsuccessful result, the case will go to the pretrial phase, which means that the presiding judge gets involved and determines whether the case can be resolved without trial. After hearing from the defense attorney and the prosecutor, the judge may listen and present a reasonable disposition. If this is still unsuccessful, the defendant’s case will be put on the trial list, and the attorneys will begin preparing.
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The next phase will be filing motions, which is a request for relief from the court. Many times, motions involve a request such as excluding evidence like breath test results or statements made to police. Defense attorneys will also motion the prosecutor for discovery, which is evidence that the prosecutor is required to turn over to the defense for preparation.
DUI cases, like all criminal cases, may be heard before a judge or a jury. When the case gets called for trial, the attorneys will begin jury selection, which is the process of weeding through numerous potential jurors to find the most appealing and objective jury. Cases that are heard before a judge will avoid this step.
Once jury selection is complete, the trial will begin with statements from each attorney in some cases or begin with the presentation of evidence by the prosecution. The prosecution has the burden of proving the case against the defendant, and the defendant is presumed not guilty.
The defense has no burden of introducing any evidence, but in many cases, the defense may present its own expert witnesses, eyewitnesses, or additional evidence that goes towards innocence or creates reasonable doubt in the state’s case. After the presentation of evidence is complete, both attorneys will have the opportunity to make closing arguments. The verdict of guilty or not guilty will be determined by the judge or the jury unanimously.
Once the verdict is reached, the defendant will either be let go or will be convicted and await sentencing. Sometimes sentencing will occur immediately, or the defendant will be given a new date for sentencing. The probation department may suggest a punishment for the judge to consider, but ultimately, the judge makes the determination.
First-time DUI offenses can cause a lot of anxiety and apprehension, and if the case goes to trial, the stress of financial burden, waiting a longer time, going to court more, and dealing with the uncertainty can be even more difficult. This is why having an attorney in your corner is so essential to a smooth process and ensuring the best outcome possible. If you have been charged with a DUI in Connecticut and have questions about representation, contact Lady DUI today.