A DUI charge could come with serious penalties, including fines, imprisonment, suspension of your driver’s license, and a permanent criminal record. A Charleston DUI trial could determine your fate, so it is important to enlist the help of a practiced attorney to handle the legal procedures with the right care.
Can a DUI be Dismissed Before Trial?
In some cases, a skilled attorney may ask the court to dismiss a pending DUI charge by filing a motion to dismiss. This may be a viable option in cases of constitutional violations or other legal infringements, such as improperly obtained evidence. By filing a motion to dismiss, a defense counsel is asking the court to intervene.
A DUI attorney might file a motion to dismiss if the facts of the case do not align with the South Carolina case law outlining certain statutes that are mandatory for law enforcement to follow. This motion typically includes a brief description of the facts and a basis for the request to dismiss the charge supported by case law.
After a motion to dismiss is filed in Charleston, a judge can outright deny the motion without a hearing or the judge might have a hearing during which testimony will be presented. The court would then rule on whether the motion will be granted or denied.
Bench Trials Versus Jury Trials
A bench trial is a trial before a judge with no jury present, where the judge determines if the individual is guilty of the charge. A jury trial involves citizens of the community who are selected to preside over the trial and decide if the prosecution has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A lawyer working a DUI case might suggest one over the other depending on whether the case hinges upon legal or factual disputes. While an attorney may suggest a type of trial, the defendant ultimately has the final decision.
Pros and Cons of a Jury Trial in Charleston
One potential benefit of a jury trial is the outright exoneration of the DUI charge, in which case the individual will not be found guilty and would have an opportunity to have the arrest expunged from their record.
However, in a jury trial, the stakes are often high. An individual could be found guilty of driving while intoxicated which, in South Carolina, can result in the conviction remaining on their criminal record permanently.
Jury Selection Process
Jury selection typically entails a prosecution and defense attorney asking potential jurors questions to determine if they are biased for any reason against the type of charge or the accused individual. In a process called voir dire, the court asks the jurors questions to discern whether they can be fair and impartial during the trial.
How an Attorney Could Help You at Trial
A Charleston DUI trial is complex. Without the help of an experienced attorney, the defendant could increase their chances of being found guilty simply because they do not understand the process, the procedures, and the laws surrounding DUI cases. A seasoned lawyer could guide the accused through the process and fight for a favorable outcome. Call today.