In the United States, every jurisdiction has its own set of laws and regulations that residents must follow. However, one common law across all jurisdictions is that driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is illegal. DUI is a severe criminal offense with significant penalties such as hefty fines, license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device, jail time, and even a criminal record. With harsh penalties at stake, those accused of DUI wonder whether they have a right to a jury trial. Although you have the right to a jury trial, in some cases, it is better to forgo that right and request a bench trial. If you are facing criminal charges for DUI in New York, contact a skilled Rockland County DUI Attorney who can help you determine whether you have a better chance of beating the case with a jury or judge deciding on your guilt.
Is it better to forgo my rights to a jury trial and pursue a bench trial for my DUI case instead?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have a better chance of reaching reduced or dismissed charges undergoing a bench trial rather than a jury trial. A bench trial is where the legal arguments and evidence are presented directly to the judge, who then decides whether you are guilty or not guilty. Unlike a jury trial, there is no jury involved. It is also critical to note that you do not have the same constitutional rights to a bench trial as a jury trial. If you waive your right to a jury trial, the prosecution or the judge may object, which means the trial will go before a jury.
Often, bench trials reach quicker resolutions as jury trials typically take longer to conclude due to the time it takes for jury selection and jury instructions. Additionally, evidence or information may come to light in some trials that should not be considered. In some cases, it’s possible that jurors might not follow the law, and this could affect their decision about guilt. However, judges always adhere to the law, so they can exclude certain information that should not be considered, which could help you reach more of a fair outcome. Jury and bench trials have notable differences that can significantly impact the outcome of your case. That said, when charged with DUI, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a qualified Rockland Country DUI attorney who can help you decide whether you should waive your right to a jury trial.
The decision to waive your right to a jury trial is complex. However, you can trust that our skilled attorneys will vigorously defend your rights to avoid harsh penalties. Contact The Law Office of Carl Spector today for strong legal representation.