The jury is still out on whether a jury DUI (driving under the influence) trial is better than a DUI trial by a judge. Some people believe that they should automatically opt for a jury trial because their "peers" will be automatically sympathetic to their plight. However, there are both sides of the coin. For example, here are some reasons a jury trial isn't necessarily good for you:
You Are Likely to Get a More Experienced Prosecutor
Driving while intoxicated is one of the crimes that the government hates with passion; one reason for this is because DUI accidents grab the headlines and the public want the government to clamp down on it. Courts tend to be very hard on DUI suspects, and if they think the jury may allow you to go Scots free, they will look for the toughest prosecutor to handle your case.
Make no mistake—driving under the influence is bad. However, if you are facing DUI charges, you want to win your case at all costs, and going against an extremely experienced prosecutor won't help your ambitions.
Your Trial Is Likely to Take Longer
Jury trials typically take longer compared to trial by judges. This is due to different factors including the jury selection process as well as the fact that a jury sentence depends on the decision of many people and not a single person as is the case with a judge. Unfortunately, a lengthy trial has its disadvantages; for example:
- It increases the cost of the trial such as lawyer fees and expenses
- It prolongs your agony since it takes long to know your fate
- It ties up your time for a long time since you need to be around to handle your case
The Jurors Won't Be Automatically Sympathetic
Lastly, don't count on a DUI trial jury to be always sympathetic to DUI suspects. For one, the jurors may be impatient and hasty with your case so that they can get back to their normal duties. They may also be harsh on you on you if your case looks a bit weak; some people reason that such cases should be handled by judges or solved via plea bargaining.
In short, don't count on the jury to save you from your DUI charges; in fact, don't opt for jury trial by default even if your state allows it. Consult a DUI lawyer for the best chance of beating your DUI case.