Seven Steps of the Trial Process explained by an El Paso DWI Attorney

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Know what to expect when you head to trail. Here are the seven steps of a DWI / DUI trial explained.

Know what to expect when you head to trail. Here are the seven steps of a DWI / DUI trial explained.

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  • 1. Seven Steps of the Trial Process explained by an El Paso DWI AttorneyThe basic framework of an El Paso DWI case is the pre-trial motions andtrial. The majority of DWI cases will never get to a trial because the persongoing to trial for DWI will agree to a plea bargain where they admit guilt inexchange for being charged with a lesser offense. The DWI case will go totrial if a plea bargain cannot be reached between the defense and theprosecutor. Most people understand the trial phase of a case based on theirexperiences on watching them on TV. A jury of your peers will listen to all ofthe evidence against you and decide to convict you or not based on theevidence and whether or not they believe you are guilty beyond a reasonabledoubt. If your DWI case goes all the way to the trial there will be a sequenceof seven steps: pre-trial motions, selecting jury members, opening statements,witness testimony, a cross examination, closing arguments, jury instructionand lastly jury deliberation and verdict.Pre-Trial MotionsThese motions typically are made by your El Paso DWI attorney demandingthat the judge suppress evidence or prevent the prosecution from doingsomething during the trial. Pre-trial motions can also include trying toprevent the prosecution from using expert witnesses or quite possibly to try todismiss your case completely. Some of the possible motions or argumentsthat your El Paso DWI attorney could argue are that the police officers mayhave questioned you without informing you of your Miranda rights, thebreathalyzer test was not administered correctly or that the arresting officermay have searched you illegally. If the police conducted them unlawfully orinappropriately it is during the pre-trial motions that your DWI attorney will
  • 2. use those mistakes against the police to exclude evidence and or witnesses.Jury SelectionJury pools are typically assembled from varying lists of local residents. Theselists are pulled from DMV records, utility billing or voting registrations. Thecourt is aiming to assemble a fair and equitable cross section of local peoplewhen they create the jury pool. Based on this, if 25% percent of thepopulation is African- American then the goal is for 25% of the jury pool tobe African-American as well. Do not be confused with this percentage as theConstitution only requires that the jury pool be a fair representation of thelocal population not the actual jury that is selected. Once the jury pool isgrouped together all of the potential jurors go before the judge, your El PasoDWI attorney and the prosecutor to answer questions to determine if they arefit enough for the trial. The reason this is done is to ensure that the jurors arenot biased towards the defense of the prosecution. If one of the people in thejury pool has lost a spouse in a DWI accident your El Paso DWI attorneywould move to dismiss them form the jury pool believing they would mostlikely biased against you.Opening StatementsThe DWI trial can start immediately after the jury has selected. The attorneysare allowed to speak to the jurors about your case for the first time duringopening statements.Witness Testimony and Cross ExaminationsThis is the part of the trial where both your El Paso DWI attorney and theprosecution are allowed to call the witnesses to discuss the incident in frontof the jury and the judge. Once a witness is brought into court by either thedefense or the prosecution the opposing sides can cross examine them if theydesire to do so. Cross examination defined is that the attorney for theprosecution is questioning a defense witness or your DWI attorney is askingquestions of a witness brought by the prosecution.
  • 3. Closing ArgumentsThis typically happen nearly end of the case when your El Paso DWIattorney and the prosecuting attorney are allowed to summarize their caseand evidence brought forth attempting to convince the jury that their side ofthe case should be victorious.Jury InstructionsThe Judge will give instructions to the jury explaining applicable laws thatthey will need to understand in order to review the facts of the case and makean informed decision. The judge typically will read the DWI statutes to thejury in plain English to eliminate any confusion from the legal jargon.Jury Deliberation and VerdictThis is the last portion of the DWI trial where the jury will be excused tochambers where they can discuss your case without being interrupted by thejudge, the DWI attorney or the prosecuting attorney. Once the jury has madea final decision, everyone will return to the court room where the juryforeman will read the verdict out loud in court.For more information, please visit or call (915)317-1933 to schedule a free consultation.