Requesting DUI Jury Trial in Arizona
The Constitution of the United States protects your rights to a trial by jury. By law, Arizona cannot offer less to its citizens than what the Constitution allows for. However, each state is permitted to allow more rights to its citizens than the Constitution does, if the state so chooses.
When evaluating whether you can request a trial by jury for DUI charges, the court will look to the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution. This Amendment states:
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”
However, many states originally interpreted the law to cover individuals who were facing serious crimes. Since then, state law has been revised to provide the ability to request a trial by jury for all criminal cases.
Arizona law for trial by jury for DUI charges
As a general rule, Arizona law permits its citizens to request a trial by jury for felony offenses. However, there are some misdemeanor offenses in which the law outlines that the defendant is permitted to request a jury of their peers. A.R.S. 28-1381 covers DUI law for Arizona. In paragraph F it states:
“At the arraignment, the court shall inform the defendant that the defendant may request a trial by jury and that the request, if made, shall be granted.”
If you choose to request a trial by jury or your attorney recommends that you do so, you should understand what that means. Trials for misdemeanor crimes or less severe felony charges include a jury of at least six individuals. Serious felony crimes where the prosecution could potentially seek the death penalty must have at least 12 jurors.
In order for you to be convicted of the DUI charges, the jury must vote unanimously for conviction.
Discuss a trial by jury with your Arizona DUI attorney
Different circumstances call for different defenses. You should counsel your attorney before requesting a trial by jury. Some cases are not ideal for a trial by jury because they open up more likelihood of conviction.
Your Arizona DUI attorney knows what is best for you based on the evidence in your case. If you feel uncomfortable with the recommendations your attorney is making, you might consider finding another attorney.
Because attorney-client relationships need trust and understanding, there are situations where certain pairings are not a fit. The best way to find the attorney whose legal style and recommendations match your outcome goals is to set up a free consultation with the attorney. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, much like a job interview.
Additionally, you want to feel comfortable sharing information related to your case with your attorney. Remember, your attorney is not permitted to share anything you tell them with the courts unless you allow for it. If you admit guilt to your attorney, they cannot turn over that information to law enforcement. Your attorney is there to help and be your guide throughout the legal proceedings related to your Arizona DUI charges.
Being charged with a DUI does not automatically mean a conviction. That’s why it’s crucial to build your defense and do all that you can to protect your rights, including the right to innocence until proven guilty.