DUI Criminal Court Proceeding in California: Trial

dui trial in californiaThe trial is the final phase of DUI court proceeding in California. It can be held whether before a judge or a jury.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees that each criminal defendant has the right to a speedy and public trial. A person charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and who are incarcerated have the right to a trial beginning 30 days from the arraignment. Suspected DUI offenders who are not incarcerated have the right to a trial beginning 45 days from their arraignment.

The trial consists of the following parts:

  • Jury selection
  • Opening statements
  • Prosecution case
  • Defense case
  • Closing arguments
  • Jury deliberations
  • Verdict

The jury is selected both by prosecutor and the defender. After the selecting process the trial begins and can last several days.
During the trial both the prosecutor and the defendant have a right to:

  1. Examine witnesses
  2. Call experts
  3. Bring any relative evidence.

Once the closing arguments are heard, the jury starts deliberations. In order the suspected to be convicted, all jury members have to find him “guilty” “BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT”. The prosecutor can try to minimize burden facts by making it seem as though the defense has the burden of proving the defendant’s innocence. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the prosecution must prove all burden facts. The jury has to be specially instructed that that is the prosecutor who has to prove “ beyond a reasonable doubt” all facts in order to find an accused guilty.
It should be noted, however, that the defender must prove that the police acted in bad faith.

There are the following possible outcomes from a jury trial:

  • all 12 jurors find the DUI suspected guilty
  • all 12 jurors agree that the DUI defendant is not guilty
  • only some jurors find the suspected guilty( “hung jury”). It can be also considered as a positive outcome for the accused.

Basing on the verdict of the jury, the judge whether sets the penalty stated by law the offender or releases.


The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. If you have faced accusations of DUI, it is essential to contact an experienced California defense attorney who is will provide legal assistance. We handle every aspect of your case, from the very start through the very last court hearing, all for a flat fee agreed upon before we begin.

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

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