What 3 Verdicts are Possible in a DUI Jury Trial?
What 3 verdicts are possible in a DUI jury trial?
In a DUI jury trial, there are only three possible outcomes for each count: not guilty, guilty, and no decision.
Each count or criminal charge against the defendant is considered separately. It is not unusual for defendants who have been charged with multiple counts to receive more than one of the possible outcomes in the same overall verdict. Jurors usually resolve charges with “guilty” or “not guilty,” but occasionally will be unable to unanimously agree. This results in a “mistrial” of such counts of the case.
DUI Verdict – Not Guilty
If the defendant is found not guilty on all charges (or some), the judge discharges the defendant from criminal liability for such offense(s). If the defendant had an appearance bond placed so that he or she could remain out of jail while waiting for trial, this bond is released at this time by order of the judge.
The security given for the bond is returned (cash) or released (real estate or the written surety of a commercial bonding company). If the defendant is found not guilty, the prosecutor cannot appeal this decision, nor force the accused to face a new trial.
DUI Verdict – Guilty
If the verdict of the jury or the judgment from the judge is that the defendant is guilty on one, several, or all of the counts in a trial, sentencing is usually done immediately after the finding of guilt. In most jurisdictions, the judge imposes the sentence.
However, in some jurisdictions (e.g., Texas), and for some other criminal offenses, it is the jury that decides the sentence. In a few states (e.g., Virginia) the jury recommends a sentence and the judge has the final word on imposition of that sentence.
DUI Jury Mistrial
If the jurors cannot gather enough support for either a guilty or not guilty verdict on any of the counts, they may be considered by the judge to be “deadlocked.” If this happens, the judge usually gives them a chance to break the deadlock. If the jury then cannot agree on a verdict, the judge declares a mistrial for that count.
This may lead to another trial, or may create a stronger negotiating position for the defense attorney to get a reduced charge. In rare cases, a mistrial may result in total dismissal of the DUI-DWI charges by the prosecutor. This usually only occurs when the “split” in the juror’s vote was heavily in favor of acquittal.