What are DUI Trials Like in Arizona?
Very few DUI cases in Arizona will ever go to trial because most are resolved before this step is reached. Still, you should be prepared for a worst case scenario. If the defense and the prosecution aren’t capable of reaching an agreement, the DUI charges will be taken to court. Preparing for a trial will depend on the complexity of the case and the experience of the attorney. Here are some of the most important things to anticipate and some of the processes you will have to go through in DUI trials.
Preparations for a DUI Trial in Arizona
Anyone who pleads not guilty in a DUI case will be scheduled for a pre-trial conference. The aim of the initial pre-trial conference (IPTC) is for the defense and the prosecution to get a better idea about the issues that they’re in disagreement over.
An IPTC meeting will be scheduled 35 days after the defense expresses its desire to plead not guilty. If issues aren’t thoroughly clarified during the IPTC, additional pre-trial meetings can be arranged. During these meetings, the defense and the prosecution will attempt to negotiate and eventually reach an agreement.
DUI Trials: What to Expect
If the conferences between the defense and the prosecution do not lead to the desired results, a trial readiness conference will be scheduled 45 days before the start of the trial. A judge is present and the aim of the pre-trial conference is to discuss all of the issues that remain unresolved before going to trial.
In Arizona, a trial by jury in DUI cases is left to the discretion of the judge whenever an individual has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 percent or less. For extreme DUIs that involve greater BAC and for repeat offenders, a trial by jury can be requested by the defense.
As already mentioned, trial by jury is a last resort option if the defense and the prosecution can’t reach an agreement or if plea bargaining cannot occur.
DUI offenders in Arizona are entitled to a speedy trial – court proceedings that occur within six months of the plea. It’s uncommon for misdemeanor charges to reach the court and most of the cases will focus on felony charges.
During the trial, the judge will be responsible for the proceedings and the legal questions being asked. The jurors will be responsible for a decision about guilt on the basis of the facts stated in the courtroom.
Testifying during the DUI Trials
The decision about a testimony by the defendant depends on the preferences of that individual and the strategy that their attorney develops. If you’re charged with DUI, you can refrain from speaking up during the trial.
Your attorney will listen to your story. Based on the information that you provide, your DUI lawyer will let you know which parts of the story are most important and which ones need to be mentioned in front of the jury.
If you are not the person to drink and drive and you have a good reputation in the community, it will definitely be a good idea to establish these facts during a trial. In such instances, your attorney will want you to testify, as long as you feel comfortable taking the stand.
When you decide to testify, you have to provide a clear and detailed account of the events. It may be a good idea to provide information about events preceding the DUI charge that could potentially have a connection to it.
Speaking up also makes sense if there’s no other witness that the attorney can call to the stand. Keep in mind, however, that the law enforcement officer will also be questioned. This professional has experience in being a witness and the whole situation could turn in their word against yours.
Your attorney will acquaint you of the advantages and shortcomings that will stem from testifying at your own DUI trial. Analyzing both will make it easier for you to adopt the approach that will potentially deliver better results.