DUI trial preparation starts on day one of a client's representation. We start by asking our clients about the situation as they recall it. We listen carefully, looking for potential areas of attack. Once we receive the police reports, we review them. Again, we are looking for areas where we can attack the government's case. Finally, we demand discovery regarding your DUI test results. Whether the state has evidence based on blood tests, breath tests, or urine tests, we have an extensive list of discovery demands we make in every case, so as to best challenge the test results in the right case.
After reviewing all the evidence, our trial preparation continues. Of course, during this time, there will be court appearances. Often, the government, or even the court itself, will be motivated to resolve the case. A person charged with a DUI should expect the state will extend an offer of some kind. It may not be a very good offer, mind you. However, if the state makes an offer, our Gainesville DUI attorneys are duty bound to tell you what the offer is. Whether or not someone takes an offer is based on a variety of factors, including the benefits of the offer, the personal costs of continuing on to trial, and the balance between risks and rewards of continuing on to trial.
DUI Trial Preparation Points
When a lawyer prepares for trial, they develop a trial strategy. This strategy is developed based on the facts and circumstances of a given case. Some of the relevant facts which can lead to a challenge at trial or at a pretrial hearing include the following.
- The reason the police stopped the car.
- The way the person behaved roadside, while the police instructed them about the field sobriety tests.
- Performance of the field sobriety tests.
- Behavior after the field sobriety tests.
- Statements made by the accused.
- Statements made by other people at the scene, the hospital, the police station, or other location, who may have information relevant to the case.
- Procedures associated with collecting a sample of blood, breath, or urine.
- Procedures associated with testing a sample of blood, breath, or urine.
- Protocols for testing.
- Protocols for test interpretation.
- Instrument maintenance for those machines used in any manner during the testing of blood, breath, or urine.
- Chain of custody for each piece of evidence.
- Review of photos associated with the case.
- Review of videos before the stop, during the stop, and at the police station.
- Police reports.
- Employment records of police involved in the stop.
This type of DUI trial preparation is mostly done by the lawyer alone. However, there are some essential parts of trial preparation that necessarily must involve the client as well.
Client Participation in DUI Trial Preparation
Clients are also an important part of DUI trial preparation. For example, it is up to the client, not the lawyer, to decide whether to try the case to the judge or to the jury. (Of course, in federal DUI cases, a jury is not an option.) When deciding whether or not to waive the jury, there are several factors to consider. While it is up to the criminal defendant to decide, it is a good idea to make this determination in conjunction with the consultation of a qualified DUI defense attorney. This is not a decision to be made lightly. There are several factors to consider which may weigh more or less favorably towards one choice or the other.
Clients must also decide whether or not they are going to testify on their own behalf in their trial. This is a difficult decision, and again, should be made in conjunction with a consultation with an experienced DUI defense attorney. Many clients want to “tell their side of the story.” On the other hand, some clients would rather do just about anything other than speaking in front of a jury of 12 people. Personal motivation is one consideration; however, it is not the only one. Lawyers can assist a client by discussing the merits of testifying or not. Simply saying, “I'm not guilty,” is generally not considered a good enough reason to take the stand. If the issue is with the collection and preservation of blood in a DUI case, the person charged with driving while under the influence probably cannot contribute a whole lot to addressing that issue. On the other hand, if the issue is whether someone consumed alcohol after driving, rather than before, the testimony of the accused may be essential to the case.
Last Minute Offers
It is not uncommon in DUI cases to get an offer on the proverbial courthouse steps. This may be frustrating, especially if one has been hoping for an offer for some time. In each case, it is essential that DUI defendants put aside their emotions and carefully evaluate any offer. Deciding how best to proceed in a given case is based on all facts and circumstances, including the details of any plea offer.
Are You Facing DUI Charges?
We find that when the prosecution knows we aren't afraid of trial, our clients get better results. Additionally, when our clients' cases do need to be tried, preparing for trial from the start is the best way to ensure we are ready to litigate the issues at hand. Let our Gainesville DUI attorneys put their experience to work for you. We work hard to make sure our clients get the best results possible, given the facts and circumstances of their case. Call today. We offer free consultations and are available to discuss your case 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We look forward to working with you.