DUI Jury Trial vs. DUI Bench trial
Question: Would you recommend a jury trial for DUI as opposed to a bench trial? I have heard that judges are often biased towards defendants as they were former prosecutors.
Answer: Unfortunately, this can be the case with some Judges (even though they are not supposed to be). Some juries can be biased as well (even though they are not supposed to be). Some of the obvious biased jurors can be weeded out during a process known as “voire dire,” but inevitably there will be jurors that make it that will have a bias one way or another. It’s also possible that some may be biased in your favor (if the prosecutor doesn’t kick them out during the voire dire process). Also, if you get one juror in your favor at the end of voting, then you have a “hung jury,” and you would not receive a conviction. A prosecutor can try to re-try the case, but often times a Judge may dismiss the charges completely after a hung jury verdict. For those reasons, I generally go with a jury trial unless there are specific issues in a case that make me lean the other way.
It sounds like you are down the road a ways in your DUI case, and hopefully have an attorney already. If so, ask them their opinion (as I am unaware which court your DUI is in, and which Judge you are in front of). If you don’t have an attorney yet, get one for your trial (and as soon as possible so they can prep accordingly). If your case is in southern California, feel free to call me to discuss further.