Do I Have a Right to a Jury Trial in My DWI Case?

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You must understand that if you are accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI), then you may be facing criminal charges. With this, you may need to enter a criminal trial. Here, you may have the option to undergo either a jury trial or a bench trial. Follow along to find out whether you have a right to a jury trial for your DWI case and how a proficient Gloucester County DWI lawyer at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. can represent you in your defense.

Do I have the right to undergo a jury trial for my DWI case?

The short answer is, yes, you may have the right to a jury trial for your DWI case. With this, you must know what to expect from these proceedings. The general sequence of events is as follows:

  1. Both the defense and the prosecution will question potential jurors from the jury pool to select which will participate in your trial.
  2. Both the defense and the prosecution will make opening statements to explain to the jurors what they believe their evidence will prove in your trial.
  3. The prosecution will present evidence to prove your charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
  4. The defense will present evidence to prove where the prosecution’s argument falls short.
  5. Both the defense and the presentation will make closing statements to explain to the jurors what they believe they proved in your trial.

Should I opt for a bench trial instead?

There are some cases in which defendants choose to forgo a jury trial and instead opt for a bench trial for their DWI cases. More specifically, a bench trial is one in which a judge decides whether you are guilty or not guilty of the charges placed against you. Below are some reasons why a bench trial may be deemed more favorable:

  • A bench trial may be a shorter duration than a trial jury, as there is no longer a need for jury selection and an explanation of the law to jurors.
  • A bench trial may follow the law more consistently than a trial jury, as jurors may stray away from the law and go off of their emotions.
  • A bench trial may be more predictable with legal issues, as jurors may make not fully comprehend a technical legal defense.

Ultimately, the benefits of a jury trial versus a bench trial typically go on a case-by-case basis. Rest assured, your lawyer may offer their educated advisement on which trial may increase your chances of being found not guilty of a DWI. Regardless of what your specific circumstances may be, you must not second-guess your instinct to retain the services of one of the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers from The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. Schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.

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