In assessing whether your DUI case should go to trial you want to make sure that you have reviewed all available evidence and discussed that evidence with a seasoned DUI defense attorney. No attorney should be telling a client that they should go to trial unless and until they know what the government has in order to prove their case. It is only fair that the attorney and the client know the strengths and weaknesses of the case before they make the decision to go to trial.
A DUI trial is costly and a person can be subject to serious long lasting consequences. With this in mind, it does not make sense to quote a client a fee to do a trial unless all available information has been flushed out. Once the evidence has been laid out then the client and attorney can weigh the chances of success in a trial versus negotiating a favorable disposition. Once the client is fully informed then it is time to decide which course the case will be directed.
Who controls whether your DUI cases goes to trial in Los Angeles? It is always amazing to me when clients say to me that they do not want to go to trial as though I control whether the case goes to trial or not. The truth is that the client always controls whether a DUI case or any criminal case goes to trial. A client has an absolute right to a trial in a DUI case and no one can make them go to trial. This decision is not one to be made lightly, but it is the client who has the final say so in the end.
Where some confusion can come in is when the client does not want to take the deal the prosecutor is offering to settle the case and also says they do not want to go to trial. If a DUI case is filed against you a number of things can occur. First, if the defense attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence against you, then the case can be won by way of dismissal. These type of motions can take the form of illegal stops, illegal searches and the police illegally taking your blood or breath. Sometimes the key evidence is a statement you make and the police fail to read you your Miranda rights. This can lead to a dismissal if there is not other evidence available to convict you.
If the case can not be won by way of a motion that leads to a dismissal and the prosecutors are not willing to dismiss the case on their own, then the case must either be negotiated to a resolution or tried in front of a jury. There is not halfway in between. The prosecutor or judge will make an offer to settle the case and the defendant, through his or her attorney, can accept the offer, reject it or counter it with another offer. Eventually the judge and prosecutor will say to the defense attorney that they have made the best offer they are going to make and the client should either take the offer or set the case for trial.
When this ultimatum is given to a DUI defendant in a criminal case, it is time to fish or cut bait. In other words the defendant either takes the deal or goes to trial. It is not the attorney who makes this decision for the client. It is the client who must decide whether they will take the deal or not. This is because it is the client who must suffer the consequences of a particular plea and follow through with whatever punishment is doled out by the judge.
It is the defense attorney’s job to negotiate the best deal possible or try the case with all available evidence in favor of the client. Once the defense attorney educates the client on the law and what they are up against, it is then up to the client to make the final decision. This is how the system works and it is one of the best systems in the world.
In my opinion, with the above in mind, you want to hire an attorney who is a straight shooter and who you feel comfortable with. The attorney you choose will be the one championing your position to the judge and prosecutor and if you feel comfortable with them, so will the judge and prosecutor.