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Jury Verdict

One of the final stages in a California criminal DUI trial is jury deliberation. After both sides have finished presenting their cases, the jury is sent out of the courtroom to make a decision. If all 12 jurors reach an agreement, the verdict is delivered. Having an experienced California criminal DUI defense attorney on the defendant's side gives the accused driver a fighting chance before a jury.

It's important to keep in mind that the prosecutor has the burden of proving every elements of the offense in a California DUI case beyond a reasonable doubt. If even one juror has doubts about the defendant's guilt, the criminal DUI case has been won. If the jury cannot agree on a verdict, there is a "hung" jury. If all 12 jurors agree in the defendant's innocence, a verdict of not guilty, or an acquittal, is returned. If all jurors agree in the defendant's guilt, a guilty verdict is rendered.

A hung jury is considered a favorable outcome for a DUI defendant. Prosecutors often decline to retry the charges, or may offer a generous plea-bargain following a hung jury. Although the prosecution has the option of retrying the case, he or she rarely wants to do so. If the prosecution had difficulty the first time convincing 12 jurors of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, he or she might face the same hurdle in another trial.

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If the jury reaches a verdict, the foreperson writes the decision on a form and tells the bailiff that deliberations have ended. The jury then reenters the courtroom. The judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and usually the defendant also return to the courtroom.

The judge instructs the foreperson to give the verdict form to the clerk. The clerk then reads the verdict aloud in the courtroom. Once the jury verdict has been read, the judge asks whether the verdict was correct.

If jurors reached a unanimous guilty verdict, the defense attorney may "poll the jury," which means that each individual juror must state their verdict. This ensures that the verdict was a truly unanimous opinion of all jury members.

After the verdict is read, the judge thanks the jurors for their service and dismisses them. The attorneys and the judge will then discuss any further procedural matters necessary. This may include setting a time for sentencing to occur if a guilty verdict is rendered. However, a guilty verdict isn't automatic - it's possible to fight a California criminal DUI charge and win. A criminal defense attorney who focuses on California DUI defense will craft a strategy designed to give drivers a fighting chance in court.

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