DUI trials in Omaha can be pivotal. If a case goes to trial, that is where they will determine whether the accused will be convicted and face criminal penalties. Therefore, it is important to have a skilled DUI lawyer who can advocate for you at trial.
When Does a DUI Case Go to Trial?
There is a number of reasons why the case may go to trial. One is if the evidence in the accused’s favor and they believe they may be able to win at trial. However, sometimes a person could either reach a plea agreement or the case can potentially be dismissed or the evidence can be suppressed, which would make a trial unnecessary. District court is where felony hearings are held. Felony charges only generally apply in DUI cases if they are more serious or repeat offenses.
A person should prepare for their trial by remaining in contact with their attorney. For example, if a person had a history of DUI, a lawyer may want the person to get a substance abuse evaluation, go into classes, remain sober, and stay out of trouble.
How Omaha Judges Treat These Cases
Omaha district court judges treat DUI cases seriously, especially if a person is a repeat offender or caused serious injury. In these cases, a judge may sentence a person to a significant amount of jail time.
Omaha county court judges treat DUI charges harshly, depending on the facts to each case. In Nebraska, even a first offense DUI at a non-aggravating level carries a mandatory minimum jail time. Judges have some discrepancies as far as what this sentence is going to look like or whether or not to allow a person on probation. Judges take DUIs very seriously, but if a person has no prior convictions, they can be shown some leniency.
The Trial Process
Once a person arrives at the courthouse on the day of their trial, they will generally meet with their attorney, go to the courtroom, and make sure that they know where the trial is being held. There then will generally be a pre-trial hearing to make any motions prior to the start of the trial. After that, they will select a jury. Once a jury is selected, the trial begins with opening statements. Then the state calls their witnesses, the defense calls their witnesses, then they make closing statements and submit the jury instructions to the jury.
Opening statements are a lawyer’s opportunity to explain the case to the members of the jury. The accused is letting them know what they believe the evidence is going to uncover and the primary areas of concern a juror should have. They would also want to highlight the strength of their defense. An opening statement should explain what the jury should expect.
The prosecutors present their case and call their witnesses first in an Omaha DUI trial. The evidence the government presents in DUI cases includes the testimony of the arresting officer. They will generally say what their observations were and explain evidence such as dashcam footage, how the person was driving, and how they were walking and talking. After this, they will generally call the Datamaster calibrator who will explain the steps they used to maintain the Datamaster machine and get accurate results.
While the government presents its case, the defense is challenging the testimony of their witnesses. They are questioning their conclusions and trying to make the evidence less credible. The defense follows the government’s presentation and presents whatever evidence is necessary to counter the evidence of the state.
A closing statement is the lawyer’s last opportunity to communicate with the jury. The prosecution goes first and can save some time for a rebuttal because they have the burden, then the defense goes, and then the prosecution can go again if they have reserved any time. In the closing statement, the defense is trying to point out to the jury what they should focus on, what they should not focus on, and what inconsistencies there are in the state’s case. The defense is explaining why they should rule in favor of their client.
Length of a Trial
Omaha DUI trials typically take several days. The biggest variable is how many witnesses are going to testify. A DUI trial at a minimum is going to take an entire day.
Have an Advocate at an Omaha DUI Trial
It is important to have an experienced advocate at your Omaha DUI trial. An attorney can help present your case and work towards the best outcome possible. To learn more, call Berry Law today to discuss your case.