What Happens in a DUI Trial?

What Happens in a DUI Trial?

DUI clients are often paralyzed with fear, never having been part of the criminal justice system before. Charged with a DUI, their freedom, their driving privileges, their good name hanging in the balance, they all wonder what the process is about that will determine whether they will be branded a criminal for the rest of their lives. The purpose of this article is to provide an explanation to all who wonder how a DUI jury trial is conducted;  more information about: Motions In Limine, Jury Selection, Opening Statement, Prosecution's Case, Defense Case, Closing Argument and Jury Deliberations.

DUI Trial DUI defenses will not be discussed here. The particular defense to be argued in a drunk driving case, whether it be a rising blood alcohol defense, a tainted blood defense, a mouth-alcohol defense, or any other, is the province of the individual DUI defense lawyer. The applicable defense will vary from case to case.

What will not vary is the process by which these cases are brought to trial. If you or someone you care about has been charged with a DUI, DWI, or some other alcohol-related driving offense (no matter what acronym is used to describe it), it is of paramount importance that you locate a skilled drunk driving defense lawyer to help. Once that lawyer is identified, the investigation completed, and the DUI lawyer has announced ready for trial, the following is a primer to help ease your nerves and know what to expect.

The "Trailing" Period

The Constitution guarantees each criminal defendant the right to a speedy and public trial. Because of the congestion found in many courthouses, the right to a speedy trial has found a particular definition. In California, a DUI defendant who is in custody has the right to a trial that commences within 30 days of their arraignment. An out-of-custody defendant has the right to commence their trial within 45 days of their arraignment. These dates can (and often are) extended at the request of the client or their DUI defense lawyer, to allow investigation into every aspect of the case.

Once a trial date is set, it is usually expressed as a "zero of ten date," meaning that the DUI defendant's speedy trial rights will not be offended if the DUI trial begins on the trial date, or within 10 days of that date. (If the tenth day falls on a Saturday or Sunday or holiday, the next court day would be the "last day" for trial.) If the trial does not commence on or before the expiration of the last day for trial, the case must be dismissed. Commencement of a DUI trial is the swearing of the jury panel.


Drunk driving defense is a specialized area. Let one of the qualified DUI LAWS attorneys find a solution to your legal problem. Click here to find a lawyer near you.

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