Do Officers Ever Fail To Show Up At A DUI Trial?
In Lake County, officers never show up for any pre-trial. They are not required to be in court unless there is some sort of contested motion, such as a Motion to Suppress, or any other pretrial motion before the case goes to trial. There are various motions I can file to challenge the validity of the stop, or the validity of certain evidence, or of a suspension which might be imposed on my client as to whether or not they blew into the machine or not. They’re only required to show up for contested motions, pretrial motions, or trial. There are occasions where officers don’t show up for any of these.
The prosecutor will send out a subpoena for the officers to show up, and there could be various reasons why they might not, from them forgetting, to them being sick or on vacation, or even situations where they’re working a major crime at the time and they just cannot show up. If it’s a legitimate reason why they are not there, more often than not the judge will give them a continuance. In situations where the officer doesn’t show up and nobody has an idea why the officer isn’t there, which is more often than not, the judge will probably give them a continuance, because it is a DUI charge. But the judge will be a little bit more upset if the prosecutor can’t give the judge legitimate reason that why the officer is there. The vast majority of times, they do show up.
Is A Jury Trial Better Than A Bench Trial Or Vice Versa?
In Illinois, you have a choice to decide whether you want a trial by a judge or a trial by a jury. First, you have to look at who the judge is. There are certain judges who, because they are pre-disposed to look favorably towards the prosecution, might be the cases that you want to take the jury. Sometimes we can look at the possibility of getting rid of that judge, and going to another. If you are assigned a fair judge, and I feel that the state cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, we will choose a bench trial because the judges understands what beyond a reasonable doubt means a whole lot better than the jury.
However, the opposite side of that is also true. If you feel that you don’t have a good case, for whatever reason, then you want to do a trial by a jury. I choose a trial by jury if I don’t think that we have a good case, because you have a much better opportunity of confusing or setting up a smoke screen with the jury because you are dealing with all different types of people. You can more easily push them to focus in on things that really aren’t that important than you would possibly do if you had a trial by a very experienced judge.
Is The Sentencing Worse Than The Plea Offer When Someone Is Convicted At A DUI Trial?
Yes, if convicted, the sentencing is usually worse than a plea offer. At a misdemeanor level, after 30 years both as a prosecutor, and also as a defense attorney, we don’t get penalized too much at sentencing time by going to trial. If it’s a misdemeanor case, the most a person can get is a year in the county jail and you’re entitled to day for day credit. Usually you’ll be out in 6 months, along with probation, and fines for court costs and drug and alcohol evaluation. If it’s a client’s first or second DUI with no aggravation, you will almost always get the same thing after trial you would have gotten beforehand.
The time you really get more severe sentence than what was originally offered after losing at trial is when your person has a lengthy record, a high number of DUI convictions, or a DUI involving bodily harm or significant property damage. In a situation like that, more often than not, that’ll be charged as a felony. But even if it isn’t originally charged as a felony, most likely at sentencing outcome is going to be more significant in terms of criminal liability than any offer that would have been made prior to trial.
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