A bench trial takes place in the presence of a judge only. The judge is the finder of fact and the ruler of law.
A bench trial allows you to forgo the process of jury selection and jury instructions submitted to the court. A bench trial is also faster because the judge often returns a finding quicker than a jury.
A major advantage of a bench trial is that the judge will be more familiar with the law.
A major disadvantage of a bench trial is that there is only one fact finder, the judge.
DUI Jury Trial
A jury trial is more formal and time consuming than a bench trial. In a jury trial, the jury is instructed to listen to evidence presented by each side and render a verdict based on that information.
The judge’s sole responsibility is to address questions of law and procedure. For example, the judge will address any objections and rulings on motions asserted by counsel.
A major advantage in a jury trial is that all twelve jurors must be convinced of your guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A major disadvantage is that a jury is more likely to be swayed by their emotions and opinion of drinking and driving.