DUI Jury Trial Final Verdict

At the end of your DUI jury trial, you the defendant will receive a final verdict from the court. Based on this verdict, you may be totally finished with the legal aspects of your case, or you may be facing punishment. In rare cases you may be required to undergo an entirely new trial.

A DUI jury trial final verdict is the decision of guilt or innocence by a jury after a trial. A verdict must be accepted by the trial judge to be final, and then is made an “order” of the court. If the verdict is not in the correct form the judge may reject the verdict. Likewise (in some jurisdictions), if the judge finds the verdict to be contrary to the evidence, the verdict can be overturned.

Usually, the single most important question the jury decides in a DUI-DWI criminal trial is whether or not the defendant is guilty. A judgment is different than a verdict. A judgment is a determination of guilt or innocence by a judge sitting without a jury. A “special verdict” is a decision by the jury on the factual questions in the case, leaving the application of the law to those facts to the judge, who makes the final judgment.

What is a directed verdict or an instructed verdict?

A “directed verdict” or “instructed verdict” is a decision made by the trial judge (following a mid-trial motion made by the defense counsel once the prosecution “rests” its case) that there is insufficient evidence of guilt on any particular charge. A “chance verdict” (decided by lot or the flip of a coin) and a “compromise verdict” (based on some jurors voting against their beliefs to break a deadlock) are both improper (except in Louisiana), and if discovered, will result in a mistrial (having the verdict thrown out by the judge) or be cause for reversal of the judgment on appeal.

When the jury reaches a verdict as to your guilt or innocence, the foreperson will notify the judge and present the judge with the written and signed form upon which the jury’s verdict was rendered. The judge ensures that the form is filled out correctly and signed, then directs the foreperson of the jury (or a bailiff) to read the decision aloud to everyone present in the courtroom.

Usually, the judge will ask the defendant and his or her legal counsel to stand and receive the verdict of the jury.

What does it mean when my DUI verdict is “published?”

In the law, publication is anything made public by print (as in a newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, letter, telegram, computer modem or program, poster, brochure or pamphlet), orally, or by broadcast (radio, television). When the verdict is read by the foreperson in open court, this is known as the verdict being read and “published.”