Q: Why should I settle my DUI case out of court, when I'm confident I'd be found innocent in a jury trial?

A: There are two ways to answer this question. First, there's no way to invoke a jury trial “right off the bat” after you've been arrested for a DUI offense in Virginia. Under the state’s legal system, your case (assuming you're an adult) will be heard by a general district court judge, and that's only if your defense lawyer and the district attorney can't come to terms on a plea deal. This judge can issue a verdict of guilty or not guilty. If you're found guilty, he will immediately set down a judgment involving fines, jail time, suspension of your license, and so forth.

It's only after you're found guilty by a general district court judge that you can choose to appeal the verdict via a jury trial. However, there are some very convincing reasons why even an aggressive Virginia defense attorney will try to dissuade you from taking this route. First, a jury trial can be expensive. You'll have to pay for a lawyer, of course, as well as any expert witnesses who can speak to your state of inebriation. Second, if a general district court judge has already found you guilty, you'll need some whopping evidence to sway a jury in your favor—say, conclusive proof that your blood-alcohol test was botched or that you were not actually driving when the police pulled your vehicle over.

If you're convinced that you got a raw deal during your first Virginia DUI go-round in general district court — and if there is genuine evidence pointing to your innocence, — call the experienced Virginia DUI attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC for a free consultation, at 888-783-9701. We'll tell you if you have a case, and if a DUI jury trial is worth the time and expense.