If you’re charged with a DUI in Wake County – Raleigh, Apex, Cary, or the other towns in the county – you have one of two options. To agree to plea to the DUI charge, and accept all of the consequences – license suspended for a year (with some possible limited driving privileges), alcohol or drug treatment, unsupervised probation or community service, and other unpleasant costs.
You do have another option: to go to trial, fight the charge, and convince a judge (in District Court) or a jury (in Superior Court) that you are not guilty of driving under the influence on Wake County’s roads.
That’s because in Wake County, the assistant district attorneys almost never offer a person charged with a DUI (drunk driving, DWI, etc.) to plea to a different charge. Instead, a defendant must either accept a DUI plea, or fight the charge by going to trial.
If you go to trial, you’ll first be tried in District Court in front of a judge. If you lose in District Court, you have the choice to appeal – appeal is automatic if you want it – to Superior Court, where you will have a jury trial.
While no one wants to go before a jury, given the way Wake County handles its DUI cases, many people do have to go to trial to defend their rights.