The DUI Judge - What They Do, How They Make Decisions, and Your Defense
A DUI judge is the decision maker. DUI judges are each different, but there are some common elements in how they decisions. Your DUI defense should consider how the judge makes choices and looks at evidence. Since today most DUI trials are via judges, this blog guide can help you understand how the DUI trial time table works and how your lawyer best prepares a defense.
What They Do
The DUI judge quite often has a busy schedule. First, they often handle a high number of cases every week. If you look on their side of the court room for a while, then you may get a better perspective. Say you have a judge who has listened to 3 defendants in one day explain to them how the breathalyzer was wrong, that they had not been drinking over the limit, and that they were perfectly fine while driving. Then the evidence against them cuts holes in the defense.
How would you fair if you plead not guilty to the charges? That's the problem with many DUI defenses: they do not consider the common pleas made by defendants. We are talking about people, not just figures, and judges have memories.
Decisions Judges Make
Your judge will almost always try to be as impartial as possible. Just because they hear common defenses does not mean they will look down on your plea. You are innocent until proven guilty. A judge will have to decide the strength of your defense. He or she will be making some decisions life changing ones for you on how to punish you, if punishment is needed. This includes jail time, license suspension, fines, probation, and more.
Making a Strong DUI Defense
Your lawyer is an invaluable part of this process, if not only because he or she can be on the same page as the judge. A good lawyer will understand the key problem with a not-guilty plea after a DUI that the judge has heard all the stories before. However, some of these stories have basis in truth. For example, the breathalyzer is not a 100% accurate device. First off, there is no difference if you are a man or woman, and your size. These can vary the results greatly.
Usually you want to plead not guilty to the charges, unless the weight of evidence is too great. You can call into questions evidence such as the breathalyzer and how the officer acted.
Should you always hire a lawyer? If you want to stand a chance in front of a DUI judge, you should. If you prepare a defense yourself without any knowledge of the court process, it can cost you. Your lawyer's job is to present evidence in front of the judge and to counter the evidence given by the prosecution. The problem is most DUI charges stick, mainly because many are guilty on some account. In order to win, you need a professional who knows the court process.
There are points where pleading guilty might be best. Simply pleading guilty does not guarantee jail time. However, you should never make this choice without a lawyer. If you are obviously guilty such as if you hit a car while driving drunk pleading guilty does not always mean the maximum penalties. Again, this is not a choice to make alone.
DUI law is complex. While it's smart to consider the role of the judge in a case, usually your lawyer will run things. Letting him or her defend you before the judge is the best choice.