Car key, glass of alcohol and gavel on wooden table

What to Expect at Your DWI Trial

Guilfoil Law Group Sept. 20, 2023

If you have made the tough decision to fight your drunk driving charge, you need to understand what to expect at your upcoming DWI trial. After the arraignment hearing and pre-trial negotiations, the next step in the criminal justice process is a trial. The success of your trial in part depends on how well you prepare in advance. 

As a DUI/DWI defense attorney at Guilfoil Law Group, I can provide you with all the guidance you need when preparing your case for trial. I will help you develop the best plan of action and assist you at every step of the way during this stressful and difficult time in your life. I represent people in DWI cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and other parts of the state, including Jackson County, Platte County, and Clay County. 

What Happens at a DWI Trial?

In Missouri, defendants in DWI cases have the right to trial by jury. During the trial, the prosecution must prove that the defendant operated the vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, or had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. A DWI trial consists of the following stages: 

  1. Before the trial is held, a jury of 12 qualified jurors must be selected and sworn in for trial.  

  1. When the trial begins, both parties – the prosecution and the defense – will present their opening statements to the jury to outline the substance of their respective cases.  

  1. After the opening statements are made, the prosecution will present their case along with all the evidence, including witness testimony.  

  1. Once the prosecution has presented their case, the defense can cross-examine the opposing side’s witnesses (if any) and present their own case along with the evidence. If witness testimony is presented in the defense’s case, the prosecution will have an opportunity to cross-examine the defense’s witnesses.  

  1. After the presentations are completed, both sides make closing arguments.  

  1. The jury goes into deliberation to decide whether or not the defendant is guilty of the DWI. The jury’s verdict will be announced after the deliberations have been concluded.  

  1. If the defendant is found guilty, sentencing may occur immediately at the trial. In some cases, sentencing may be held at a future date. If the defendant is found not guilty, their DWI case ends.  

An experienced attorney will walk you through every step of the criminal justice process and ensure that your rights and best interests are respected at every stage of your DWI trial.  

How to Prepare for Your DWI Trial

Preparing your case thoroughly for trial can help you achieve positive results. Some of the practical tips on how to prepare for your DWI trial include: 

  • Completing an alcohol assessment and, if necessary, attending AA meetings. If the prosecution’s case against you is rather strong, your attorney may advise you to complete an alcohol assessment and, if the assessment determines that you are suffering from a substance abuse problem, you might want to begin attending AA meetings. These actions would show that you are admitting a problem. However, if you intend to argue that you were not intoxicated as part of your defense, attending AA meetings may be counterintuitive.  

  • Abide by the terms of your release. If the judge sets bail or agrees to release you on your own recognizance during your arraignment, it is essential that you adhere to the terms and conditions of your release.  

  • Choose the appropriate clothing. A general rule to follow when choosing what to wear to your DWI trial is to dress like you have respect for the court.  

  • Prepare a compelling story. If you will testify during the trial, you need to prepare a compelling story to get the jurors to believe your side. Follow your attorney’s advice regarding testimony and make sure that you rehearse the testimony as many times as necessary to ensure that your story resonates with the jury.  

Being well-prepared will help you walk into the courtroom with confidence knowing that you are willing to do whatever it takes to secure a favorable outcome.  

Start Preparing Today With a Skilled Attorney

If your DWI case proceeds to trial, you need to know what to expect and how to navigate the intricacies of the legal system when trying to defend yourself. As a results-driven and compassionate attorney at Guilfoil Law Group, I can help you fight the charges to keep your record clean or, at the very least, get the lowest penalties possible. Reach out to my office today to start preparing for your DWI trial immediately.