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Bench Trial or Jury Trial in a DUI Case? A Very Significant and Not-So-Simple Question

There is a movement taking place across this country to take away the right to trial by jury in 1st offense DUI cases. Georgia law continues to provide those charged with DUI here with the right to a trial by jury on every DUI charge. Therefore, a person charged with DUI can always elect to go forward with a jury trial. On the other hand, an accused can attempt to go forward with a bench trial, but the state may prevent the defendant from setting the case for a bench trial in some cases.

Some lawyers intuitively think that one would never move forward to a bench trial when the defense is premised upon the burden of proof (proof beyond a reasonable doubt) as to the defendant’s state of impairment. Such lawyers typically believe if the issue is whether our client was impaired, a judge is not the proper avenue for an acquittal (not guilty). This is right in most cases, but what if your case were in front of a judge that would be as favorable as any jury? What if you could eliminate a lot of the uncertainty that accompanies a jury trial? What if the election to have a bench trial instead of a jury trial trial would significantly reduce the probability that the court would impose a draconian sentence in the event of a guilty verdict?

As a practical matter, the decision as to whether try a case in front of a jury or a judge is a difficult decision that can only be intelligently made with a consideration of a multitude of various facts. Experience counsel that understands the judge and whether or not the judge can apply the burden of proof in a DUI case is a difficult matter to judge. However, experienced DUI lawyers recognize that we cannot flatly reject the notice that a bench trial is the appropriate choice for a trial.

Blog Post Provided By:

The Sessions Law Firm, LLC

3155 Roswell Rd., Ste. 220
Phone: 470-225-7710

About the Author

Ben Sessions, Attorney at Sessions Law Group
Ben Sessions

I work to provide exceptional service, attention, and results to each of my clients. Most of clients come to me because they are in a completely overwhelming situation. They need someone that will do more than address their legal problems.


Hiring a lawyer is about more than getting a great result in your case. We understand that for many of our clients, the event that led them to call us causes them tremendous stress and anxiety. We will help you understand the process and how we can help. When you hire The Sessions Law Firm for your case, you will have a lawyer that is willing to take the time to help you and committed to delivering the best results possible.