Everyone charged with DUI is entitled to a trial before a judge to determine if you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You are entitled to a jury trial if the case is charged under state law as opposed to a city ordinance, or when you are stopped outside city limits by a state trooper or sheriff, or when facing a second offense with a BAC of .15 and above or for a third offense or greater. Some cases are best tried before a judge and some before a jury. This is a strategy decision that you and your attorney make together.
If you decide to plead guilty you must waive the right to a trial including the right to call witnesses, to cross-examine the state’s witnesses, to testify on your own behalf and to require the state to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In Lancaster County these rights must be waived in the open courtroom before the judge will accept your guilty plea.
If you win at trial, count yourself in the very lucky minority. If you lose, you must decide whether to request probation or to take the straight statutory sentence. [See ALR/DUI Chart for penalties.]
If you lose in court (i.e., you are convicted) you have a right to appeal the conviction. The appeal must be filed within thirty days of the date you are sentenced.