If you are facing a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) trial, then you are likely already aware of how many steps are involved in the case process. From the initial arrest to preparing for trial, it can be a frightening experience leaving you wondering, what comes next?
This article guides you through the various stages of a DUI/OWI trial. We’ll discuss crucial aspects such as jury selection, potential sentencing outcomes and the appeals process. This guide will provide valuable insights into the Wisconsin DUI/OWI trial process making it a little less daunting for you or the ones in your life facing a trial.
- Hiring a DUI/OWI Attorney
- The Pre-Trial Process
- Jury Selection
- The Trial
- The Importance of Being Prepared
1. Hiring a DUI/OWI Attorney
When preparing for a DUI/OWI trial, hiring a criminal defense attorney is the most important first step. An experienced DUI attorney can not only help you navigate the legal complexities but also make the process less stressful for you. Your lawyer can also potentially help you avoid a criminal conviction and license suspension.
Not only is it important to have an experienced lawyer on your side, but hiring someone local is very helpful. Read more about this topic in our previous post “The Importance of Hiring a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer in Milwaukee.”
2. The Pre-Trial Process
In Wisconsin, the pre-trial process for a DUI/OWI trial begins with an initial appearance, where the defendant is informed about the charges and potential penalties. This is typically followed by a pre-trial conference, a meeting between your attorney and the prosecutor to discuss the case.
Pre-trial motions may be filed at this stage, challenging improper police procedure or seeking to have your case dismissed. It’s also crucial to prepare a preliminary list of people involved in your case.
The pre-trial phase is critical as it sets the foundation for your defense strategy and could influence the trial’s outcome.
3. Jury Selection
Jury selection involves the defense and prosecution selecting jurors who will impartially examine the evidence and decide the case. The jury selection process typically takes a considerable amount of time and can significantly impact the trial’s outcome.
Both the prosecutor and defense attorney have the opportunity to question potential jurors to gauge their ability to remain unbiased. If you choose a trial by jury, it’s important to note that you’re entitled to 6 jury members for a misdemeanor, and 12 for a felony. Your attorney’s goal during this phase is to select jurors likely to decide in your favor.
4. The Trial
The trial is where all the evidence and arguments are presented to either a judge or a jury. The prosecution will present their case first, providing evidence such as breathalyzer results, field sobriety test results, and testimonies from the arresting officer or other witnesses.
The defense will then have an opportunity to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses and challenge the validity of the evidence.
After the prosecution has rested, the defense presents its case, which may include expert witnesses to refute the prosecution’s claims. There are a few common defenses for DUI/OWI cases including incorrectly performed tests, calibration issues, unlawful traffic stops and more. Your lawyer will help you craft a solid defense for your case that will be presented at this time.
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge or jury will decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty based on the evidence presented.
Sentencing is the final phase of a DUI/OWI trial in Wisconsin, and it occurs after a defendant is found guilty by a judge or jury. The penalties for a DUI/OWI conviction in Wisconsin can vary greatly, depending on factors such as prior convictions, the role of blood alcohol content (BAC) level in your DUI/OWI cases, and whether any injuries or fatalities resulted from the incident.
A first-time offender may face fines, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education classes. For repeat offenders, the penalties increase significantly and can include hefty fines, extended license suspension, mandatory ignition interlock device installation, and even imprisonment.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your trial, you may have the option to appeal the decision. An appeal is a legal proceeding where the defendant challenges the decision of the trial court, seeking a review by a higher court.
During an appeal, the appellate court will examine the record of the first DUI trial for any legal errors that may have influenced the outcome. It’s important to note that new evidence typically cannot be introduced during an appeal. The appellate court can uphold the original sentence, overturn it, or send the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.
7. The Importance of Being Prepared
Overall, preparing for a DUI/OWI trial can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. That’s why it is crucial to hire an experienced attorney who will keep you informed about the laws and processes, and be prepared to present a strong defense in court. With the right preparation, you can increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your case.
In addition to being prepared legally, it is also important to take care of yourself during this stressful time. Seek support from friends and family, practice self-care, and follow any recommendations or requirements from the court. Remember that a DUI/OWI charge does not define you and with the right help, you can overcome this obstacle in your life.
So if facing such charges in Milwaukee, be sure to reach out to Fenton Law Office for the best Milwaukee DUI attorney. Let our team guide you through the trial process and fight for your rights to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Don’t wait, contact us today for a consultation and take the first step in preparing for your DUI/OWI trial.
By Attorney Jay Fenton, Owner of Fenton Law Office
Jay Fenton is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee who goes above and beyond for his clients. He has successfully secured favorable outcomes in countless cases, from negotiating plea agreements to filing pre-trial motions and managing complex appeals. Attorney Fenton also has had tremendous success achieving not-guilty verdicts at trial. His dedication and aggressiveness make him one of the best attorneys around.