Many drivers arrested for drinking and driving in the Buffalo area are able to resolve the drunk driving charges against them through plea negotiations.
This may occur in cases where the prosecution allows the driver to plead guilty to a lesser offense.
It also may be recommended by a DWI lawyer in cases where the evidence of guilt is so overwhelming that there is almost no chance of the charge being reduced or dismissed at trial, and cooperation may help the defendant at sentencing.
When a defendant arrested for DWI does choose to go to trial, there is no requirement that the trial be conducted in front of a jury. Instead, the defendant may opt for a non-jury trial.
At a non-jury trial, the judge presiding over the case also will assume the role of the jury.
This means that the judge will consider the evidence and decide whether it is sufficient to convict the defendant of the DWI charge or any lesser offense.
While defendants have a right to have a jury trial conducted before their peers, the decision regarding whether to conduct a jury or non-jury trial should be made in consultation with an experienced DWI attorney.
It often may be to the defendant’s advantage to have a trial conducted before a judge instead of a jury, and non-jury trials for DWI charges are common in Western New York.
One reason for this is that a judge typically will have much more experience with the nuances of New York’s drinking and driving laws and their penalties.
For example, a judge will not need to have the difference between Driving While Intoxicated and the lesser offense of Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol explained to him or her.
As a result, it may be to the defendant’s advantage to have the case heard by a judge if the prosecution does not have overwhelming evidence of the more serious Driving While Intoxicated offense.
It can be difficult to know what to do following an arrest for drinking and driving.
If you need legal help, call us at 716-631-999 for a legal consultation.