Is there any chance my case will be dismissed?
Joey: There’s always a chance of that and there are several places that chance can pop up. For instance, if it takes them over a year to prosecute, then we have a right to dismiss from failure to prosecute. If you show up and the police officer who arrested you or pulled you over isn’t there, then you have a right to dismiss based on the failure and inability to confront your accusers. If someone from the crime lab does not show up, the case can be dismissed. If you’re charged with drug possession, and they can’t verify their scientific testing in testimony, that you actually had controlled substances, then your case can be dismissed. If the state fails to meet its burden of proof, I can move to have it dismissed for failure to meet that burden. There’s always a chance it can be dismissed. However, don’t bet all your chips on it. But when it’s a win, it’s a real win when you can get something dismissed. that why you need an affordable criminal justice attorney Jackson MS.
Do they ever make a plea deal?
Joey: Quite often, yes. I have to ascertain the situation and know whether or not the officer’s there and whether or not they have their ducks in a row. If they’re missing some part of their case, it might be best not to take a plea deal and go to trail so they can’t meet their burden of proof. However, sometimes the police officer’s done their job to a tee, and they have a very, very strong case. Then I try to work something out before we go to trial and that’s usually done through some kind of a plea deal. It can vary widely, depending on the charges, the individual, the officer and the prosecution, and for that matter, the judge.
Is it considered a criminal trial?
Joey: Absolutely. Even a speeding ticket or a seat belt ticket is considered a criminal trial. So, DUI is indeed a criminal trial. You are being charged with a crime under the laws of the state of Mississippi.
Is the trial in county or district court?
Joey: In Mississippi, the initial trial will be held either in a municipal court where you got pulled over, or county court. So, if you are in Jackson, we go to the Jackson Municipal Court. However, if you’re outside the city limits, then your trial will likely be held at the Hinds County Justice Court. The justice court will control anything outside city limits. If you pled no contest, or you were found guilty and you wanted to appeal, then that would go up to the county court in the appropriate county. There’s only 19 counties in the state of Mississippi that actually have county courts. So, if there is no county court, then you would go up to the circuit court.
How long does a DUI trial normally last?
Joey: A DUI trial normally lasts the better part of an hour. Sometimes they can go on for two or three hours, especially if you’re into a felony level. The felony level ones, in fact, normally go for days. Two to three days would probably be the minimum you would look at for a DUI third or fourth offense, or aggravated DUI trial. But as far as justice court, municipal court, or even county court trials, where it’s just in front of the judge, they generally last an hour.
Are subpoenas ever issued?
Joey: They are usually issued by the state to have witnesses appear. With DUI trials, the fewer witnesses that appear, the better off it is for the person charged. Every once in great while, the defendant has a very credible witness that we might want subpoena to trial. But that’s a risk. If you serve a subpoena, folks get nervous when the sheriff shows up. It’s much better if you can get them to come in on their own free will and accord. Leave subpoenas for the prosecution witnesses. Let the prosecutor do all that dirty work.
What should I wear in court?
Joey: The best you can. If you got a three-piece suit, wear a three-piece suit and look better than a lawyer. I understand not everybody can afford that, so if you got a nice pair of jeans and a nice pair of shoes, and a nice button-down shirt, wear it. The better you look, the better off you are. Judges have told me that if a defendant is dressed well, they might naturally give them the benefit of the doubt. But, somebody who shows up with holes in their pants and a T-shirt and flip-flops, they might not get that benefit. The judge thinks, “let’s not worry about it and rule against him”. So always appear your best in a courtroom, no matter what your best might be. If all you have is holey britches and a beat-up shirt, I understand. But, think of this as your church clothes plus. If you got some church clothes, that’s how you need to appear in court.