The elements of a criminal trial

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2019 | DUI

If an individual is taken into custody for DUI in South Carolina or any other state, he or she may be put on trial. A trial is where the government attempts to prove that a person committed a crime while the defendant attempts to dispute the allegation. Typically, cases are heard and decided by a jury, so the first step in a criminal case is to choose the people who will serve as jurors.

The case begins with an opening statement from the prosecutor. Once the prosecution has finished laying out its case to the jury, the defense may then make its opening statement. However, this may be delayed until after the prosecution rests its case. After witnesses have been called and cross-examined, each side will make a closing argument before the case is handed over to the jury. The closing argument is the final chance for each side to sway the jury to agree with its assessment of the matter.

After the closing arguments, the jury will deliberate and decide whether it believes a defendant is guilty or innocent. When a verdict has been reached, it will be announced to the judge. The verdict will either be read by the jury foreman or the judge to everyone assembled in the courtroom. In some cases, a jury will not reach a verdict, which means a new trial may be held.

People who have been charged with DUI generally have the opportunity to hire an attorney to help defend them throughout the legal process. A lawyer may advise a defendant to not talk to authorities or make other potentially incriminating statements on social media or elsewhere. Legal counsel may also work to have evidence suppressed or choose jurors who seem open to siding with the defendant.